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Then Telemakhos went all alone by the sea side, washed his hands in the gray waves, and prayed to Athena.

"Hear me," he cried, "you god who visited me yesterday, and bade me sail the seas in search of the nostos of my father who has so long been missing. I would obey you, but the Achaeans, and more particularly the wicked suitors, are hindering me that I cannot do so."

As he thus prayed, Athena came close up to him in the likeness and with the voice of Mentor. "Telemakhos," said she, "if you are made of the same stuff as your father you will be neither fool nor coward henceforward, for Odysseus never broke his word nor left his work half done. If, then, you take after him, your voyage will not be fruitless, but unless you have the blood of Odysseus and of Penelope in your veins I see no likelihood of your succeeding. Sons are seldom as good men as their fathers; they are generally worse, not better; still, as you are not going to be either fool or coward henceforward, and are not entirely without some share of your father's wise discernment, I look with hope upon your undertaking. But mind you never make common cause [noos] with any of those foolish suitors, for they are neither sensible nor just [dikaioi], and give no thought to death and to the doom that will shortly fall on one and all of them, so that they shall perish on the same day. As for your voyage, it shall not be long delayed; your father was such an old friend of mine that I will find you a ship, and will come with you myself. Now, however, return home, and go about among the suitors; begin getting provisions ready for your voyage; see everything well stowed, the wine in jars, and the barley meal, which is the staff of life, in leathern bags, while I go round the dêmos and round up volunteers at once. There are many ships in Ithaca both old and new; I will run my eye over them for you and will choose the best; we will get her ready and will put out to sea without delay."

Thus spoke Athena daughter of Zeus, and Telemakhos lost no time in doing as the goddess told him. He went moodily and found the suitors flaying goats and singeing pigs in the outer court. Antinoos came up to him at once and laughed as he took his hand in his own, saying, "Telemakhos, my fine fire-eater, bear no more ill blood neither in word nor deed, but eat and drink with us as you used to do. The Achaeans will find you in everything - a ship and a picked crew to boot - so that you can set sail for Pylos at once and get news of your noble father."

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load focus Notes (W. Walter Merry, James Riddell, D. B. Monro, 1886)
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