Eurykleia now went upstairs
laughing to tell her mistress that her dear husband had come home.
Her aged knees became young again and her feet were nimble for joy as
she went up to her mistress and bent over her head to speak to her.
"Wake up Penelope, my dear child," she exclaimed, "and see with your
own eyes something that you have been wanting this long time past.
Odysseus has at last indeed come home again, and has killed the
suitors who were giving so much trouble in his house, eating up his
estate and ill-treating his son."
"My good nurse," answered
Penelope, "you must be mad. The gods sometimes send some very
sensible people out of their minds, and make foolish people become
sensible. This is what they must have been doing to you; for you
always used to be a reasonable person. Why should you thus mock me
when I have trouble enough already - talking such nonsense, and
waking me up out of a sweet sleep that had taken possession of my
eyes and closed them? I have never slept so soundly from the day my
poor husband went to that city with the ill-omened name. Go back
again into the women's room; if it had been any one else, who
had woke me up to bring me such absurd news I should have sent her
away with a severe scolding. As it is, your age shall protect
"My dear child," answered
Eurykleia, "I am not mocking you. It is quite true as I tell you that
Odysseus is come home again. He was the stranger whom they all kept
on treating so badly in the room. Telemakhos knew all the time that
he was come back, but kept his father's secret that he might
have his revenge on all these wicked people.
Then Penelope sprang up from her
couch, threw her arms round Eurykleia, and wept for joy. "But my dear
nurse," said she, "explain this to me; if he has really come home as
you say, how did he manage to overcome the wicked suitors single
handed, seeing what a number of them there always were?"