So he spoke, and Odysseus went back and sat down again, and for Telemachus the swineherd strewed green brushwood beneath and a fleece above it, and there the dear son of Odysseus sat down. Then the swineherd set before them platters
of roast meats, which they had left at their meal the day before, and quickly heaped up bread in baskets, and mixed in a bowl of ivy wood honey-sweet wine, and himself sat down over against divine Odysseus. So they put forth their hands to the good cheer lying ready before them.
But when they had put from them the desire of food and drink, Telemachus spoke to the goodly swineherd, and said:
“Father, from whence did this stranger come to thee? How did sailors bring him to Ithaca
? Who did they declare themselves to be? For nowise, methinks, did he come hither on foot.”
To him then, swineherd Eumaeus, didst thou make answer, and say: “Then verily, my child, I will tell thee all the truth. From broad Crete
he declares that he has birth, and he says that he has wandered roaming through many cities of mortals; so has a god spun for him this lot.
But now he has run away from a ship of the Thesprotians and come to my farmstead, and I shall put him in thy hands. Do what thou wilt. He declares himself thy suppliant.”
Then again wise Telemachus answered him: “Eumaeus, verily this word which thou hast uttered stings me to the heart.
For how am I to welcome this stranger in my house? I am myself but young, nor have I yet trust in my might to defend me against a man, when one waxes wroth without a cause. And as for my mother, the heart in her breast wavers this way and that, whether to abide here with me and keep the house,
respecting the bed of her husband and the voice of the people, or to go now with him whosoever is best of the Achaeans that woo her in the halls, and offers the most gifts of wooing. But verily, as regards this stranger, now that he has come to thy house, I will clothe him in a cloak and tunic, fair raiment,
and will give him a two-edged sword, and sandals for his feet, and send him whithersoever his heart and spirit bid him go. Or, if thou wilt, do thou keep him here at the farmstead, and care for him, and raiment will I send hither and all his food to eat, that he be not the ruin of thee and of thy men.
But thither will I not suffer him to go, to join the company of the wooers, for they are over-full of wanton insolence, lest they mock him, and dread grief come upon me. And to achieve aught is hard for one man among many, how mighty soever he be, for verily they are far stronger.”