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[85] Now when they came to the beautiful streams of the river, where were the washing tanks that never failed—for abundant clear water welled up from beneath and flowed over, to cleanse garments however soiled—there they loosed the mules from under the wagon and drove them along the eddying river [90] to graze on the honey-sweet water-grass, and themselves took in their arms the raiment from the wagon, and bore it into the dark water, and trampled it in the trenches, busily vying each with each. Now when they had washed the garments, and had cleansed them of all the stains, they spread them out in rows on the shore of the sea where [95] the waves dashing against the land washed the pebbles cleanest; and they, after they had bathed and anointed themselves richly with oil, took their meal on the river's banks, and waited for the clothing to dry in the bright sunshine. Then when they had had their joy of food, she and her handmaids, [100] they threw off their head-gear and fell to playing at ball, and white-armed Nausicaa was leader in the song.1 And even as Artemis, the archer, roves over the mountains, along the ridges of lofty Taygetus or Erymanthus, joying in the pursuit of boars and swift deer, [105] and with her sport the wood-nymphs, the daughters of Zeus who bears the aegis, and Leto is glad at heart—high above them all Artemis holds her head and brows, and easily may she be known, though all are fair—so amid her handmaidens shone the maid unwed. [110] But when she was about to yoke the mules, and fold the fair raiment, in order to return homeward, then the goddess, flashing-eyed Athena, took other counsel, that Odysseus might awake and see the fair-faced maid, who should lead him to the city of the Phaeacians. [115] So then the princess tossed the ball to one of her maidens; the maiden indeed she missed, but cast it into a deep eddy, and thereat they cried aloud, and goodly Odysseus awoke, and sat up, and thus he pondered in mind and heart: “Woe is me! to the land of what mortals am I now come? [120] Are they cruel, and wild, and unjust? or do they love strangers and fear the gods in their thoughts? There rang in my ears a cry as of maidens, of nymphs who haunt the towering peaks of the mountains, the springs that feed the rivers, and the grassy meadows! [125] Can it be that I am somewhere near men of human speech? Nay, I will myself make trial and see.”

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