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So he spoke, and the two went their way forth from the hall and sat down by the altar of great Zeus, [380] gazing about on every side, ever expecting death. And Odysseus too gazed about all through his house to see if any man yet lived, and was hiding there, seeking to avoid black fate. But he found them one and all fallen in the blood and dust—all the host of them, like fishes that fishermen [385] have drawn forth in the meshes of their net from the grey sea upon the curving beach, and they all lie heaped upon the sand, longing for the waves of the sea, and the bright sun takes away their life; even so now the wooers lay heaped upon each other. [390] Then Odysseus of many wiles spoke to Telemachus: “Telemachus, go call me the nurse Eurycleia, that I may tell her the word that is in my mind.” So he spoke, and Telemachus hearkened to his dear father, and shaking the door said to Eurycleia: [395] “Up and hither, aged wife, that hast charge of all our woman servants in the halls. Come, my father calls thee, that he may tell thee somewhat.” So he spoke, but her word remained unwinged; she opened the doors of the stately hall, [400] and came forth, and Telemachus led the way before her. There she found Odysseus amid the bodies of the slain, all befouled with blood and filth, like a lion that comes from feeding on an ox of the farmstead, and all his breast and his cheeks on either side [405] are stained with blood, and he is terrible to look upon; even so was Odysseus befouled, his feet and his hands above. But she, when she beheld the corpses and the great welter of blood, made ready to utter loud cries of joy, seeing what a deed had been wrought. But Odysseus stayed and checked her in her eagerness, [410] and spoke and addressed her with winged words: “In thine own heart rejoice, old dame, but refrain thyself and cry not out aloud: an unholy thing is it to boast over slain men. These men here has the fate of the gods destroyed and their own reckless deeds, for they honored no one of men upon the earth, [415] were he evil or good, whosoever came among them; wherefore by their wanton folly they brought on themselves a shameful death. But come, name thou over to me the women in the halls, which ones dishonor me and which are guiltless.” Then the dear nurse Eurycleia answered him: [420] “Then verily, my child, will I tell thee all the truth. Fifty women servants hast thou in the halls, women that we have taught to do their work, to card the wool and bear the lot of slaves. Of these twelve in all have set their feet in the way of shamelessness, [425] and regard not me nor Penelope herself. And Telemachus is but newly grown to manhood, and his mother would not suffer him to rule over the women servants. But come, let me go up to the bright upper chamber and bear word to thy wife, on whom some god has sent sleep.”

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