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He spoke, and sat down on a chair beside king Alcinous. [470] And now they were serving out portions and mixing the wine. Then the herald came near, leading the good minstrel, Demodocus, held in honor by the people, and seated him in the midst of the banqueters, leaning his chair against a high pillar. Then to the herald said Odysseus of many wiles, [475] cutting off a portion of the chine of a white-tusked boar, whereof yet more was left, and there was rich fat on either side: “Herald, take and give this portion to Demodocus, that he may eat, and I will greet him, despite my grief. For among all men that are upon the earth minstrels [480] win honor and reverence, for that the Muse has taught them the paths of song, and loves the tribe of minstrels.” So he spoke, and the herald bore the portion and placed it in the hands of the lord Demodocus, and he took it and was glad at heart. So they put forth their hands to the good cheer lying ready before them. [485] But when they had put from them the desire of food and drink, then to Demodocus said Odysseus of many wiles: “Demodocus, verily above all mortal men do I praise thee, whether it was the Muse, the daughter of Zeus, that taught thee, or Apollo; for well and truly dost thou sing of the fate of the Achaeans, [490] all that they wrought and suffered, and all the toils they endured, as though haply thou hadst thyself been present, or hadst heard the tale from another. But come now, change thy theme, and sing of the building of the horse of wood, which Epeius made with Athena's help, the horse which once Odysseus led up into the citadel as a thing of guile, [495] when he had filled it with the men who sacked Ilios. If thou dost indeed tell me this tale aright, I will declare to all mankind that the god has of a ready heart granted thee the gift of divine song.” So he spoke, and the minstrel, moved by the god, began, and let his song be heard, [500] taking up the tale where the Argives had embarked on their benched ships and were sailing away, after casting fire on their huts, while those others led by glorious Odysseus were now sitting in the place of assembly of the Trojans, hidden in the horse; for the Trojans had themselves dragged it to the citadel. [505] So there it stood, while the people talked long as they sat about it, and could form no resolve. Nay, in three ways did counsel find favour in their minds: either to cleave the hollow timber with the pitiless bronze, or to drag it to the height and cast it down the rocks, or to let it stand as a great offering to propitiate the gods, [510] even as in the end it was to be brought to pass; for it was their fate to perish when their city should enclose the great horse of wood, wherein were sitting all the best of the Argives, bearing to the Trojans death and fate. And he sang how the sons of the Achaeans [515] poured forth from the horse and, leaving their hollow ambush, sacked the city. Of the others he sang how in divers ways they wasted the lofty city, but of Odysseus, how he went like Ares to the house of Deiphobus together with godlike Menelaus. There it was, he said, that Odysseus braved the most terrible fight [520] and in the end conquered by the aid of great-hearted Athena.

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