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Old woman
Before the Achaeans went to Troy, stranger. But get away from the house; for something is happening within, by which the palace is thrown into confusion. You have not come at the right time; and if my master [480] catches you, death will be your guest-gift. For I am well-disposed to Hellenes, for all that I spoke harshly to you in fear of my master.

The old woman goes back into the palace.

What can I say? For after my former troubles, this present event that I hear of is an unhappy one, [485] if I have come here, bringing my wife who was taken from Troy, and she is kept safe in the cave, but some other woman who has the same name as my wife lives in this house. She said the woman was born the child of Zeus. [490] Can there be a man with the name of Zeus by the banks of Nile? For there is only one in heaven. Where in the world is there a Sparta, except by the streams of Eurotas, with its lovely reeds? The name of Tyndareus is the name of one alone. [495] Is there any land of the same name as Lakedaimon or Troy? I do not know what to say; for there are probably many things in the wide world that have the same names, both cities and women; there is nothing, then, to marvel at. [500] Besides, I will not run away from a servant's fears; for no man is so barbaric at heart as to refuse me food when he has heard my name. The fire of Troy is famous, and I, Menelaos, who lighted it, am well known in every land. [505] I will wait for the master of the house; he gives me two things to look out for: if he is a cruel sort of person, I will keep myself hidden and go back to the shipwreck; but if he shows any softening, I will ask for help in my present state. [510] This is the worst evil for me in my misery, to beg the means of life from other kings, when I am myself a king; but it is necessary. The saying is not mine, but it is a wise word: nothing is stronger than dreadful necessity.

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