The first four books of the Homeric epic Odyssey recount the efforts of Telemachus to find any news of his father's fate. His father had left to fight in the Trojan War when Telemachus was still an infant. Advised by the goddess Athena, Telemachus went to Nestor, who started telling him stories about his father's feats. He then visited Sparta and the court of Menelaus and Helen. The royal couple told Telemachus more stories about Odysseus, and filling in more of the gaps around the hero.
Telemachus eventually reached the house of Eumaeus, a herdsman, who at the time hosted Odysseus in disguise. After Athena's advice, Odysseus revealed himself to his son, and they then started forming a plan to get rid of the suitors that had been trying to win Penelope's hand.
Telemachus and a disguised Odysseus returned to Ithaca; Telemachus then told his mother to organise a contest for the suitors; whoever would be able to string the bow of her husband and shoot an arrow through the holes of twelve axeheads, would become her new husband. Telemachus was the first to try, and although he would have managed it, Odysseus told him not to. The suitors then unsuccessfully attempted to perform the task. In the end, Odysseus revealed himself and along with his son, killed all of the suitors.