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Then the goddess, flashing-eyed Athena, answered him: “Therefore of a truth will I frankly tell thee all. [180] I declare that I am Mentes, the son of wise Anchialus, and I am lord over the oar-loving Taphians. And now have I put in here, as thou seest, with ship and crew, while sailing over the wine-dark sea to men of strange speech, on my way to Temese for copper; and I bear with me shining iron. [185] My ship lies yonder beside the fields away from the city, in the harbor of Rheithron, under woody Neion. Friends of one another do we declare ourselves to be, even as our fathers were, friends from of old. Nay, if thou wilt, go and ask the old warrior Laertes, who, they say, [190] comes no more to the city, but afar in the fields suffers woes attended by an aged woman as his handmaid, who sets before him food and drink, after weariness has laid hold of his limbs, as he creeps along the slope of his vineyard plot. And now am I come, for of a truth men said that he, [195] thy father, was among his people; but lo, the gods are thwarting him of his return. For not yet has goodly Odysseus perished on the earth, but still, I ween, he lives and is held back on the broad sea in a sea-girt isle, and cruel men keep him, a savage folk, that constrain him, haply sore against his will. [200] Nay, I will now prophesy to thee, as the immortals put it in my heart, and as I think it shall be brought to pass, though I am in no wise a soothsayer, nor one versed in the signs of birds. Not much longer shall he be absent from his dear native land, no, not though bonds of iron hold him. [205] He will contrive a way to return, for he is a man of many devices. But come, tell me this and declare it truly, whether indeed, tall as thou art, thou art the son of Odysseus himself. Wondrously like his are thy head and beautiful eyes; for full often did we consort with one another [210] before he embarked for the land of Troy, whither others, too, the bravest of the Argives, went in their hollow ships. But since that day neither have I seen Odysseus, nor he me.” Then wise Telemachus answered her: “Therefore of a truth, stranger, will I frankly tell thee all. [215] My mother says that I am his child; but I know not, for never yet did any man of himself know his own parentage. Ah, would that I had been the son of some blest man, whom old age overtook among his own possessions. But now of him who was the most ill-fated of mortal men [220] they say that I am sprung, since thou askest me of this.” Then the goddess, flashing-eyed Athena, answered him: “Surely, then, no nameless lineage have the gods appointed for thee in time to come, seeing that Penelope bore thee such as thou art. But come, tell me this and declare it truly. [225] What feast, what throng is this? What need hast thou of it? Is it a drinking bout, or a wedding feast? For this plainly is no meal to which each brings his portion, with such outrage and overweening do they seem to me to be feasting in thy halls. Angered would a man be at seeing all these shameful acts, any man of sense who should come among them.”

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