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The Adventures of Odysseus and The Tales of Troy

Page: 83

Telemachus was there. Seeing Eumæus he called to him and gave the swineherd bread and meat, and said, 'Take these, and give them to the stranger at the doorway, and tell him that he may go amongst the company and crave an alms from each.'

Odysseus ate whilst the minstrel was finishing his song. When it was finished he rose up, and went into the hall, craving an alms from each of the wooers.

Seeing him, Antinous, the most insolent of the wooers, cried out, 'O notorious swineherd, why didst thou bring this fellow here? Have we not enough vagabonds? Is it nothing to thee that worthless fellows come here and devour thy master's substance?'

Hearing such a speech from Antinous, Telemachus had to say, 'Antinous, I see that thou hast good care for me and mine. I marvel that thou hast such good care. But wouldst thou have me drive a stranger from the door? The gods forbid that I should do such a thing. Nay, Antinous. Give the stranger something for the sake of the house.'

'If all the company gives him as much as I, he will have something to keep him from beggary for a three months' space,' said Antinous, meaning by that that he would work some hurt upon the beggar.

'Wooers of the renowned queen,' he said, 'hear what the spirit within me bids me say to you. There is neither pain nor shame in the blow that a man may get in battle. But in the blow that Antinous has given me—a blow aimed at a beggar—there is pain and there is shame. And now I call upon that god who is the avenger of the insult to the poor, to bring, not a wedding to Antinous, but the issue of death.'


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