Now Penelope was no long time without knowledge of the plans which the wooers were plotting in the deep of their hearts; for the herald Medon told her, who heard their counsel as he stood without the court and they within were weaving their plot. So he went through the hall to bear the tidings to Penelope;
and as he stepped across the threshold Penelope spoke to him and said:
“Herald, why have the lordly wooers sent thee forth? Was it to tell the handmaids of divine Odysseus to cease from their tasks, and make ready a feast for them? Never wooing1
any more, nor consorting together elsewhere,
may they now feast here their latest and their last—even ye who are ever thronging here and wasting much livelihood, the wealth of wise Telemachus. Surely ye hearkened not at all in olden days, when ye were children, when your fathers told what manner of man Odysseus was among them that begat you,
in that he wrought no wrong in deed or word to any man in the land, as the wont is of divine kings—one man they hate and another they love. Yet he never wrought iniquity at all to any man. But your mind and your unseemly deeds
are plain to see, nor is there in after days any gratitude for good deeds done.”
Then Medon, wise of heart, answered her: “I would, O queen, that this were the greatest evil. But another greater far and more grievous are the wooers planning, which I pray that the son of Cronos may never bring to pass.
They are minded to slay Telemachus with the sharp sword on his homeward way; for he went in quest of tidings of his father to sacred Pylos
and to goodly Lacedaemon
So he spoke, and her knees were loosened where she sat, and her heart melted. Long time she was speechless, and both her eyes
were filled with tears, and the flow of her voice was checked. But at last she made answer, and said to him:
“Herald, why is my son gone? He had no need to go on board swift-faring ships, which serve men as horses of the deep, and cross over the wide waters of the sea.
Was it that not even his name should be left among men?”
Then Medon, wise of heart, answered her: “I know not whether some god impelled him, or whether his own heart was moved to go to Pylos
, that he might learn either of his father's return or what fate he had met.”