Eurykleia left the room to tell
the women, and make them come to Odysseus; in the meantime he called
Telemakhos, the stockman, and the swineherd. "Begin," said he, "to
remove the dead, and make the women help you. Then, get sponges and
clean water to swill down the tables and seats. When you have
thoroughly cleansed the whole cloisters, take the women into the
space between the domed room and the wall of the outer court, and run
them through with your swords till they are quite dead, and have
forgotten all about love and the way in which they used to lie in
secret with the suitors."
On this the women came down in a
body, weeping and wailing bitterly. First they carried the dead
bodies out, and propped them up against one another in the gatehouse.
Odysseus ordered them about and made them do their work quickly, so
they had to carry the bodies out. When they had done this, they
cleaned all the tables and seats with sponges and water, while
Telemakhos and the two others shoveled up the blood and dirt from the
ground, and the women carried it all away and put it out of doors.
Then when they had made the whole place quite clean and orderly, they
took the women out and hemmed them in the narrow space between the
wall of the domed room and that of the yard, so that they could not
get away: and Telemakhos said to the other two, "I shall not let
these women die a clean death, for they were insolent to me and my
mother, and used to sleep with the suitors."
So saying he made a ship's
cable fast to one of the bearing-posts that supported the roof of the
domed room, and secured it all around the building, at a good height,
lest any of the women's feet should touch the ground; and as
thrushes or doves beat against a net that has been set for them in a
thicket just as they were getting to their nest, and a terrible fate
awaits them, even so did the women have to put their heads in nooses
one after the other and die most miserably. Their feet moved
convulsively for a while, but not for very long.
As for Melanthios, they took him
through the room into the inner court. There they cut off his nose
and his ears; they drew out his vitals and gave them to the dogs raw,
and then in their fury they cut off his hands and his