"Run and fetch them," answered
Odysseus, "while my arrows hold out, or when I am alone they may get
me away from the door."
Telemakhos did as his father
said, and went off to the store room where the armor was kept. He
chose four shields, eight spears, and four brass helmets with
horse-hair plumes. He brought them with all speed to his father, and
armed himself first, while the stockman and the swineherd also put on
their armor, and took their places near Odysseus. Meanwhile Odysseus,
as long as his arrows lasted, had been shooting the suitors one by
one, and they fell thick on one another: when his arrows gave out, he
set the bow to stand against the end wall of the house by the door
post, and hung a shield four hides thick about his shoulders; on his
comely head he set his helmet, well wrought with a crest of
horse-hair that nodded menacingly above it, and he grasped two
redoubtable bronze-shod spears.
Now there was a trap door on the
wall, while at one end of the pavement there was an exit leading to a
narrow passage, and this exit was closed by a well-made door.
Odysseus told Philoitios to stand by this door and guard it, for only
one person could attack it at a time. But Agelaos shouted out,
"Cannot some one go up to the trap door and tell the people what is
going on? Help would come at once, and we should soon make an end of
this man and his shooting."
"This may not be, Agelaos,"
answered Melanthios, "the mouth of the narrow passage is dangerously
near the entrance to the outer court. One brave man could prevent any
number from getting in. But I know what I will do, I will bring you
arms from the store room, for I am sure it is there that Odysseus and
his son have put them."