The Adventures of Odysseus and The Tales of Troy

Page: 98

But Penelope only looked at the nurse, for she thought that her brain had been turned.

Still Eurycleia kept on saying, 'In very deed Odysseus is here. He is that guest whom all the wooers dishonour in the hall.'

Then hearing Eurycleia say these words, Penelope sprang out of bed and put her arms round the nurse's neck. 'O tell me—if what thou dost say be true—tell me how this stranger slew the wooers, who were so many.'

'I did not see the slaying,' Eurycleia said, 'but I heard the groaning of the men as they were slain. And then I found Odysseus standing amongst many dead men, and it comforted my heart to see him standing there like a lion aroused. Come with me now, lady, that you may both enter into your heart's delight—you that have suffered so much of affliction. Thy lord hath come alive to his own hearth, and he hath found his wife and his son alive and well.'

'Ah no!' said Penelope, 'ah no, Odysseus hath not returned. He who hath slain the wooers is one of the deathless gods, come down to punish them for their injustice and their hardheartedness. Odysseus long ago lost the way of his returning, and he is lying dead in some far-off land.'

'No, no,' said Eurycleia. 'I can show thee that it is Odysseus indeed who is in the hall. On his foot is the scar that the tusk of a boar gave him in the old days. I spied it when I was washing his feet last night, and I would have told thee of it, but he clapped a hand across my mouth to stop my speech. Lo, I stake my life that it is Odysseus, and none other who is in the hall below.'

Saying this she took Penelope by the hand and led her from the upper chamber into the hall. Odysseus was standing by a tall pillar. He waited there for his wife to come and speak to him. But Penelope stood still, and gazed long upon him, and made no step towards him.

Then said Telemachus, 'Mother, can it be that thy heart is so hard? Here is my father, and thou wilt not go to him nor question him at all.'