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The Adventures of Odysseus and The Tales of Troy

Page: 84

'Sit there and eat thy meat in quiet,' Antinous called out, 'or else thou wilt be dragged through the house by thy heels, and the flesh will be stripped off thy bones,'

And now the lady Penelope had come into the hall. Hearing that a stranger was there, she sent for Eumæus and bade the swineherd bring him to her, that she might question him as to what he had heard about Odysseus. Eumæus came and told him of Penelope's request. But Odysseus said, 'Eumæus, right willing am I to tell the truth about Odysseus to the fair and wise Penelope. But now I may not speak to her. Go to her and tell her that when the wooers have gone I will speak to her. And ask her to give me a seat near the fire, that I may sit and warm myself as I speak, for the clothes I wear are comfortless.'

As Eumæus gave the message to the lady Penelope, one who was there, Theoclymenus, the guest who had come in Telemachus' ship, said, 'O wife of the renowned Odysseus, be sure that thy lord will return to his house. As I came here on the ship of Telemachus, thy son, I saw a happening that is an omen of the return of Odysseus. A bird flew out on the right, a hawk. In his talons he held a dove, and plucked her and shed T

here was in Ithaka a common beggar; he was a most greedy fellow, and he was nicknamed Irus because he used to run errands for the servants of Odysseus' house. He came in the evening, and seeing a seeming beggar seated on the threshold, he flew into a rage and shouted at him:

'Get away from here, old fellow, lest you be dragged away by the hand or foot. Look you! The lords within the house are giving me the wink to turn you out. But I can't demean myself by touching the like of you. Get up now and go while I'm easy with you.'

Odysseus looked at the fellow and said, 'I have not harmed you in deed or word, and I do not grudge you anything of what you may get in this house. The threshold I sit on is wide enough for two of us.'

'What words this fellow has!' said Irus the beggar. 'He talks like an old sit-by-the-fire. I'll not waste more words on him. Get up now, heavy paunch, and strip for the fight, for I'm going to show all the lords that I can keep the door for them.'


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