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Then the goddess, flashing-eyed Athena, answered him: [45] “Obstinate one, many a man puts his trust even in a weaker friend than I am, one that is mortal, and knows not such wisdom as mine; but I am a god, that guard thee to the end in all thy toils. And I will tell thee openly; if fifty troops of mortal men [50] should stand about us, eager to slay us in battle, even their cattle and goodly sheep shouldest thou drive off. Nay, let sleep now come over thee. There is weariness also in keeping wakeful watch the whole night through; and even now shalt thou come forth from out thy perils.” So she spoke, and shed sleep upon his eyelids, [55] but herself, the fair goddess, went back to Olympus. Now while sleep seized him, loosening the cares of his heart, sleep that loosens the limbs of men, his true-hearted wife awoke, and wept, as she sat upon her soft bed. But when her heart had had its fill of weeping, [60] to Artemis first of all the fair lady made her prayer: “Artemis, mighty goddess, daughter of Zeus, would that now thou wouldest fix thy arrow in my breast and take away my life even in this hour; or that a storm-wind might catch me up and bear me hence over the murky ways, [65] and cast me forth at the mouth of backward-flowing Oceanus, even as on a time storm-winds bore away the daughters of Pandareus. Their parents the gods had slain, and they were left orphans in the halls, and fair Aphrodite tended them with cheese, and sweet honey, and pleasant wine, [70] and Here gave them beauty and wisdom above all women, and chaste Artemis gave them stature, and Athena taught them skill in famous handiwork. But while beautiful Aphrodite was going to high Olympus to ask for the maidens the accomplishment of gladsome marriage— [75] going to Zeus who hurls the thunderbolt, for well he knows all things, both the happiness and the haplessness of mortal men—meanwhile the spirits of the storm snatched away the maidens and gave them to the hateful Erinyes to deal with.1 Would that even so those who have dwellings on Olympus would blot me from sight, [80] or that fair-tressed Artemis would smite me, so that with Odysseus before my mind I might even pass beneath the hateful earth, and never gladden in any wise the heart of a baser man. Yet when a man weeps by day with a heart sore distressed, [85] but at night sleep holds him, this brings with it an evil that may well be borne—for sleep makes one forget all things, the good and the evil, when once it envelops the eyelids—but upon me a god sends evil dreams as well. For this night again there lay by my side one like him, even such as he was when he went forth with the host, and my heart [90] was glad, for I deemed it was no dream, but the truth at last.”

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