So did he pray, and Zeus the lord of counsel heard his prayer. Forthwith he sent an eagle, the most unerring portent of all birds that fly, the dusky hunter that men also call the Black Eagle. His wings were spread abroad on either side as wide as the well-made and well-bolted door of a rich man's chamber. He came to them flying over the city upon their right hands, and when they saw him they were glad and their hearts took comfort within them. The old man made haste to mount his chariot, and drove out through the inner gateway and under the echoing gatehouse of the outer court. Before him went the mules drawing the four-wheeled wagon, and driven by wise Idaios; behind these were the horses, which the old man lashed with his whip and drove swiftly through the city,
while his friends followed after, wailing and lamenting for him as though he were on his road to death. As soon as they had come down from the city and had reached the plain, his sons and sons-in-law who had followed him went back to Ilion
But Priam and Idaios as they showed out upon the plain did not escape the ken of all-seeing Zeus, who looked down upon the old man and pitied him; then he spoke to his son Hermes and said, "Hermes, for it is you who are the most disposed to escort men on their way, and to hear those whom you will hear, go, and so conduct Priam to the ships of the Achaeans that no other of the Danaans shall see him nor take note of him until he reach the son of Peleus."
Thus he spoke and Hermes, guide and guardian, slayer of Argos
, did as he was told. Forthwith he bound on his glittering golden sandals with which he could fly like the wind over land and sea; he took the wand with which he seals men's eyes in sleep, or wakes them just as he pleases, and flew holding it in his hand till he came to Troy
and to the Hellespont
. To look at, he was like a young man of noble birth in the hey-day of his youth and beauty with the down just coming upon his face.
Now when Priam and Idaios had driven past the great tomb [sêma] of Ilion
, they stayed their mules and horses that they might drink in the river, for the shades of night were falling, when, therefore, Idaios saw Hermes standing near them he said to Priam, "Take heed, descendant of Dardanos
; here is matter which demands consideration [noos]. I see a man who I think will presently fall upon us; let us flee with our horses, or at least embrace his knees and implore him to take compassion upon us?
When he heard this the old man's heart [noos] failed him, and he was in great fear; he stayed where he was as one dazed, and the hair stood on end over his whole body; but the bringer of good luck came up to him and took him by the hand, saying, "Whither, father, are you thus driving your mules and horses in the dead of night when other men are asleep?
Are you not afraid of the fierce Achaeans who are hard by you, so cruel and relentless? Should some one of them see you bearing so much treasure through the darkness of the fleeing night, what would not your state of mind [noos] then be? You are no longer young, and he who is with you is too old to protect you from those who would attack you. For myself, I will do you no harm, and I will defend you from any one else, for you remind me of my own father."
And Priam answered, "It is indeed as you say, my dear son; nevertheless some god has held his hand over me, in that he has sent such a wayfarer as yourself to meet me so Opportunely; you are so comely in mien and figure, and your judgment [noos] is so excellent that you must come of blessed parents."