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[540] Not yet was the word fully uttered, when they came themselves. Down they leapt to earth, and the others were seized with joy and welcomed them with hand-clasps and with gentle words. And the horseman, Nestor of Gerenia, was first to question them: “Come tell me now, Odysseus, greatly to be praised, great glory of the Achaeans, [545] how ye twain took these horses. Was it by entering the throng of the Trojans? Or did some god that met you give you them? Wondrous like are they to rays of the sun. Ever do I mingle in battle with the Trojans and nowise methinks do I tarry by the ships, old warrior though I be; [550] howbeit never yet saw I such horses neither thought of such. Nay, methinks some god hath met you and given you them; for both of you twain doth Zeus the cloud-gatherer love and the daughter of Zeus that beareth the aegis, even flashing-eyed Athene.” Then in answer spake unto him Odysseus of many wiles: [555] “Nestor, son of Neleus, great glory of the Achaeans, easily might a god that willed it bestow even better horses than these, for the gods are mightier far. But these horses, old sir, whereof thou askest, are newly come from Thrace, and their lord did brave Diomedes [560] slay, and beside him twelve of his comrades, all them that were the best. And for the thirteenth we slew a scout near the ships, one that Hector and the other lordly Trojans had sent forth to spy upon our camp.” So spake he, and drave the single-hooved horses through the trench, [565] exultingly, and with him went joyously the rest of the Achaeans. But when they were come to the well-builded hut of the son of Tydeus, the horses they bound with shapely thongs at the manger where stood the swift-footed horses of Diomedes, eating honey-sweet corn. [570] And on the stern of his ship did Odysseus place the bloody spoils of Dolon until they should make ready a sacred offering to Athene. But for themselves they entered the sea and washed away the abundant sweat from shins and necks and thighs. And when the wave of the sea had washed the abundant sweat [575] from their skin, and their hearts were refreshed, they went into polished baths and bathed. But when the twain had bathed and anointed them richly with oil, they sate them down at supper, and from the full mixing-bowl they drew off honey-sweet wine and made libation to Athene.

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