But the wooers in front of the palace of Odysseus were making merry, throwing the discus and the javelin in a levelled place, as their wont was, in insolence of heart; and Antinous and godlike Eurymachus were sitting there, the leaders of the wooers, who in valiance were far the best of all.
To them Noemon, son of Phronius, drew near, and he questioned Antinous, and spoke, and said:
“Antinous, know we at all in our hearts, or know we not, when Telemachus will return from sandy Pylos
? He is gone, taking a ship of mine, and I have need of her
to cross over to spacious Elis
, where I have twelve brood mares, and at the teat sturdy mules as yet unbroken. Of these I would fain drive one off and break him in.”
So he spoke, and they marvelled at heart, for they did not deem that Telemachus had gone to Neleian Pylos, but that he was somewhere there
on his lands, among the flocks or with the swineherd.
Then Antinous, son of Eupeithes, spoke to him, saying: “Tell me the truth; when did he go, and what youths went with him? Were they chosen youths of Ithaca
, or hirelings and slaves of his own? Able would he be to accomplish even that.
And tell me this truly, that I may know full well. Was it perforce and against thy will that he took from thee the black ship? or didst thou give it him freely of thine own will, because he besought thee?”
Then Noemon, son of Phronius, answered him:“I myself freely gave it him. What else could any man do,
when a man like him, his heart laden with care, makes entreaty? Hard it were to deny the gift. The youths that are the noblest in the land after ourselves, even these have gone with him; and among them I noted one going on board as their leader, Mentor, or a god, who was in all things like unto Mentor.
But at this I marvel. I saw goodly Mentor here yesterday at early dawn; but at that time he embarked for Pylos
So saying he departed to his father's house, but of those two the proud hearts were angered. The wooers they straightway made to sit down and cease from their games;
and among them spoke Antinous, son of Eupeithes, in displeasure; and with rage was his black heart wholly filled, and his eyes were like blazing fire.
“Out upon him, verily a proud deed has been insolently brought to pass by Telemachus, even this journey, and we deemed that he would never see it accomplished.
Forth in despite of all of us here the lad is gone without more ado, launching a ship, and choosing the best men in the land. He will begin by and by to be our bane; but to his own undoing may Zeus destroy his might before ever he reaches the measure of manhood. But come, give me a swift ship and twenty men,
that I may watch in ambush for him as he passes in the strait between Ithaca
and rugged Samos
. Thus shall his voyaging in search of his father come to a sorry end.”
So he spoke, and they all praised his words, and bade him act. And straightway they rose up and went to the house of Odysseus.