"I understand and heed you,"
replied Eumaios; "you need instruct me no further, only I am going
that way say whether I had not better let poor Laertes
know that you
are returned. He used to superintend the work on his farm in spite of
his bitter sorrow about Odysseus, and he would eat and drink at will
along with his servants; but they tell me that from the day on which
you set out for Pylos
he has neither eaten nor drunk as he ought to
do, nor does he look after his farm, but sits weeping and wasting the
flesh from off his bones."
"More's the pity," answered
Telemakhos, "I am sorry for him, but we must leave him to himself
just now. If people could have everything their own way, the first
thing I should choose would be the return of my father; but go, and
give your message; then make haste back again, and do not turn out of
your way to tell Laertes
. Tell my mother to send one of her women
secretly with the news at once, and let him hear it from
Thus did he urge the swineherd;
Eumaios, therefore, took his sandals, bound them to his feet, and
started for the town. Athena watched him well off the station, and
then came up to it in the form of a woman - fair, stately, and wise.
She stood against the side of the entry, and revealed herself to
Odysseus, but Telemakhos could not see her, and knew not that she was
there, for the gods do not let themselves be seen by everybody.
Odysseus saw her, and so did the dogs, for they did not bark, but
went scared and whining off to the other side of the yards. She
nodded her head and motioned to Odysseus with her eyebrows; whereon
he left the hut and stood before her outside the main wall of the
yards. Then she said to him:
"Odysseus, noble son of Laertes
it is now time for you to tell your son: do not keep him in the dark
any longer, but lay your plans for the destruction of the suitors,
and then make for the town. I will not be long in joining you, for I
too am eager for the fray."