Then the much-enduring, goodly Odysseus answered him: “Friend, since surely it is right for me to make answer—verily ye rend my heart, as I hear your words, such wantonness you say the wooers devise in the halls in despite of thee, so goodly a man.
Tell me, art thou willingly thus oppressed? Or do the people throughout the land hate thee, following the voice of a god? Or hast thou cause to blame thy brothers, in whose fighting a man trusts even if a great strife arise. Would that with my present temper I were as young as thou,
either the son of blameless Odysseus, or Odysseus himself,1
straightway then might some stranger cut my head from off my neck, if I did not prove myself the bane of them all when I had come to the halls of Odysseus, son of Laertes.
But if they should overwhelm me by their numbers, alone as I was, far rather would I die, slain in my own halls, than behold continually these shameful deeds, strangers mishandled, and men dragging the handmaidens in shameful fashion through the fair halls,
and wine drawn to waste, and men devouring my bread all heedlessly, without limit, with no end to the business.”
And wise Telemachus answered him: “Then verily, stranger, I will frankly tell thee all. Neither do the people at large bear me any grudge or hatred,
nor have I cause to blame brothers, in whose fighting a man trusts, even if a great strife arise. For in this wise has the son of Cronos made our house to run in but a single line. As his only son did Arceisius beget Laertes, as his only son again did his father beget Odysseus, and Odysseus
begot me as his only son, and left me in his halls, and had no joy of me. Therefore it is that foes past counting are now in the house; for all the princes who hold sway over the islands—Dulichium, and Same, and wooded Zacynthus—and those who lord it over rocky Ithaca
all these woo my mother and lay waste my house. And she neither refuses the hateful marriage, nor is she able to make an end; but they with feasting consume my substance, and will ere long bring me, too, to ruin. Yet these things verily lie on the knees of the gods.
But, father, do thou go with speed, and tell constant Penelope that she has me safe, and I am come from Pylos
. But I will abide here, and do thou come back hither, when thou hast told thy tale to her alone; but of the rest of the Achaeans let no one learn it, for many there are who contrive evil against me.”