Telemakhos went and knocked at
the door of the women's room. "Make haste," said he, "you old
woman who have been set over all the other women in the house. Come
outside; my father wishes to speak to you."
When Eurykleia heard this she
unfastened the door of the women's room and came out, following
Telemakhos. She found Odysseus among the corpses bespattered with
blood and filth like a lion that has just been devouring an ox, and
his breast and both his cheeks are all bloody, so that he is a
fearful sight; even so was Odysseus besmirched from head to foot with
gore. When she saw all the corpses and such a quantity of blood, she
was beginning to cry out for joy, for she saw that a great deed had
been done; but Odysseus checked her, "Old woman," said he, "rejoice
in silence; restrain yourself, and do not make any noise about it; it
is an unholy thing to vaunt over dead men. Heaven's doom and
their own evil deeds have brought these men to destruction, for they
respected no man in the whole world, neither rich nor poor, who came
near them, and they have come to a bad end as a punishment for their
wickedness and folly. Now, however, tell me which of the women in the
house have misconducted themselves, and who are innocent."
"I will tell you the truth
[alêtheia], my son," answered Eurykleia. "There
are fifty women in the house whom we teach to do things, such as
carding wool, and all kinds of household work. Of these, twelve in
all have misbehaved, and have been wanting in respect to me, and also
to Penelope. They showed no disrespect to Telemakhos, for he has only
lately grown and his mother never permitted him to give orders to the
female servants; but let me go upstairs and tell your wife all that
has happened, for some god has been sending her to sleep."
"Do not wake her yet," answered
Odysseus, "but tell the women who have misconducted themselves to
come to me."