Then Penelope went upstairs again
and mourned her husband till Athena shed sleep over her eyes. In the
evening Eumaios got back to Odysseus and his son, who had just
sacrificed a young pig of a year old and were ready; helping one
another to get supper ready; Athena therefore came up to Odysseus,
turned him into an old man with a stroke of her wand, and clad him in
his old clothes again, for fear that the swineherd might recognize
him and not keep the secret, but go and tell Penelope.
Telemakhos was the first to
speak. "So you have got back, Eumaios," said he. "What is the news
[kleos] of the town? Have the suitors returned, or are
they still waiting over yonder, to take me on my way
"I did not think of asking about
that," replied Eumaios, "when I was in the town. I thought I would
give my message and come back as soon as I could. I met a man sent by
those who had gone with you to Pylos
, and he was the first to tell
the new your mother, but I can say what I saw with my own eyes; I had
just got on to the crest of the hill of Hermes above the town when I
saw a ship coming into harbor with a number of men in her. They had
many shields and spears, and I thought it was the suitors, but I
cannot be sure."
On hearing this Telemakhos smiled
to his father, but so that Eumaios could not see him.