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[435] “She meanwhile had plunged beneath the broad bosom of the sea, and had brought forth from the deep the skins of four seals, and all were newly flayed; and she devised a plot against her father. She had scooped out lairs in the sand of the sea, and sat waiting; and we came very near to her, [440] and she made us to lie down in a row, and cast a skin over each. Then would our ambush have proved most terrible, for terribly did the deadly stench of the brine-bred seals distress us—who would lay him down by a beast of the sea?—but she of herself delivered us, and devised a great boon; [445] she brought and placed ambrosia of a very sweet fragrance beneath each man's nose, and destroyed the stench of the beast. So all the morning we waited with steadfast heart, and the seals came forth from the sea in throngs. These then laid them down in rows along the shore of the sea, [450] and at noon the old man came forth from the sea and found the fatted seals; and he went over all, and counted their number. Among the creatures he counted us first, nor did his heart guess that there was guile; and then he too laid him down. Thereat we rushed upon him with a shout, and [455] threw our arms about him, nor did that old man forget his crafty wiles. Nay, at the first he turned into a bearded lion, and then into a serpent, and a leopard, and a huge boar; then he turned into flowing water, and into a tree, high and leafy; but we held on unflinchingly with steadfast heart. [460] But when at last that old man, skilled in wizard arts, grew weary, then he questioned me, and spoke, and said: “‘Who of the gods, son of Atreus, took counsel with thee that thou mightest lie in wait for me, and take me against my will? Of what hast thou need?’ “So he spoke, and I made answer, and said: [465] ‘Thou knowest, old man—why dost thou seek to put me off with this question?—how long a time I am pent in this isle, and can find no sign of deliverance, and my heart grows faint within me. But do thou tell me—for the gods know all things—who of the immortals fetters me here, and has hindered me from my path, and tell me [470] of my return, how I may go over the teeming deep.’ “So I spoke, and he straightway made answer, and said: ‘Nay, surely thou oughtest to have made fair offerings to Zeus and the other gods before embarking, that with greatest speed thou mightest have come to thy country, sailing over the wine-dark sea. [475] For it is not thy fate to see thy friends, and reach thy well-built house and thy native land, before that thou hast once more gone to the waters of Aegyptus, the heaven-fed river, and hast offered holy hecatombs to the immortal gods who hold broad heaven. [480] Then at length shall the gods grant thee the journey thou desirest.’

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load focus Notes (W. Walter Merry, James Riddell, D. B. Monro, 1886)
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