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The Adventures of Odysseus and The Tales of Troy

Page: 9

Then arose another old man whose name was Mentor, and he was one who had been a friend and companion of Odysseus. He spoke to the council saying:

'Never again need a King be gentle in his heart. For kind and gentle to you all was your King, Odysseus. And now his son asks you for help and you do not hurry to give it him. It is not so much an affliction to me that these wooers waste his goods as that you do not rise up to forbid it. But let them persist in doing it on the hazard of their own heads. For a doom will come on them, I say. And I say again to you of the council: you are many and the wooers are few: Why then do you not put them away from the house of Odysseus?'

But no one in the council took the side of Telemachus and Halitherses and Mentor—so powerful were the wooers and so fearful of them were the men of the council. The wooers looked at Telemachus and his friends with mockery. Then for the last time Telemachus rose up and spoke to the council.

'I have spoken in the council, and the men of Ithaka know, and the gods know, the rights and wrongs of my case. All I ask of you now is that you give me a swift ship with twenty youths to be my crew so that I may go to Pylos and to Sparta to seek tidings of my father. If I find he is alive and that he is returning, then I can endure to wait another year in the house and submit to what you do there.'

Even at this speech they mocked. Said one of them, Leocritus by name, 'Though Odysseus be alive and should one day come into his own hall, that would not affright us. He is one, and we are many, and if he should strive with those who outnumber him, why then, let his doom be on his own head. And now, men of the council, scatter yourselves and go each to his own home, and let Mentor and Halitherses help Telemachus to get a ship and a crew.'

Leocritus said that knowing that Mentor and Halitherses were old and had few friends, and that they could do nothing to help Telemachus to get a ship. The council broke up and those who were in it scattered. But the wooers went together back to the house of Odysseus.


V


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