Meanwhile Ulysses and the swineherd were eating their supper inthe hut, and the men supped with them. As soon as they had had toeat and drink, Ulysses began trying to prove the swineherd and seewhether he would continue to treat him kindly, and ask him to stayon at the station or pack him off to the city; so he said: short curly wigs
"Eumaeus, and all of you, to-morrow I want to go away and beginbegging about the town, so as to be no more trouble to you or toyour men. Give me your advice therefore, and let me have a goodguide to go with me and show me the way. I will go the round of thecity begging as I needs must, to see if any one will give me a drinkand a piece of bread. I should like also to go to the house of Ulyssesand bring news of her husband to queen Penelope. I could then go aboutamong the suitors and see if out of all their abundance they will giveme a dinner. I should soon make them an excellent servant in all sortsof ways. Listen and believe when I tell you that by the blessing ofMercury who gives grace and good name to the works of all men, thereis no one living who would make a more handy servant than I should- toput fresh wood on the fire, chop fuel, carve, cook, pour out wine, anddo all those services that poor men have to do for their betters."
The swineherd was very much disturbed when he heard this. "Heavenhelp me," he exclaimed, "what ever can have put such a notion asthat into your head? If you go near the suitors you will be undoneto a certainty, for their pride and insolence reach the veryheavens. They would never think of taking a man like you for aservant. Their servants are all young men, well dressed, wearinggood cloaks and shirts, with well looking faces and their hairalways tidy, the tables are kept quite clean and are loaded withbread, meat, and wine. Stay where you are, then; you are not inanybody's way; I do not mind your being here, no more do any of theothers, and when Telemachus comes home he will give you a shirt andcloak and will send you wherever you want to go." brunette wig
Ulysses answered, "I hope you may be as dear to the gods as youare to me, for having saved me from going about and getting intotrouble; there is nothing worse than being always ways on the tramp;still, when men have once got low down in the world they will gothrough a great deal on behalf of their miserable bellies. Sincehowever you press me to stay here and await the return ofTelemachus, tell about Ulysses' mother, and his father whom he left onthe threshold of old age when he set out for Troy. Are they stillliving or are they already dead and in the house of Hades?"
"I will tell you all about them," replied Eumaeus, "Laertes is stillliving and prays heaven to let him depart peacefully his own house,for he is terribly distressed about the absence of his son, and alsoabout the death of his wife, which grieved him greatly and aged himmore than anything else did. She came to an unhappy end through sorrowfor her son: may no friend or neighbour who has dealt kindly by mecome to such an end as she did. As long as she was still living,though she was always grieving, I used to like seeing her and askingher how she did, for she brought me up along with her daughterCtimene, the youngest of her children; we were boy and girltogether, and she made little difference between us. When, however, weboth grew up, they sent Ctimene to Same and received a splendiddowry for her. As for me, my mistress gave me a good shirt and cloakwith a pair of sandals for my feet, and sent me off into thecountry, but she was just as fond of me as ever. This is all over now.Still it has pleased heaven to prosper my work in the situationwhich I now hold. I have enough to eat and drink, and can findsomething for any respectable stranger who comes here; but there is nogetting a kind word or deed out of my mistress, for the house hasfallen into the hands of wicked people. Servants want sometimes to seetheir mistress and have a talk with her; they like to have somethingto eat and drink at the house, and something too to take back withthem into the country. This is what will keep servants in a goodhumour."
Ulysses answered, "Then you must have been a very little fellow,Eumaeus, when you were taken so far away from your home and parents.Tell me, and tell me true, was the city in which your father andmother lived sacked and pillaged, or did some enemies carry you offwhen you were alone tending sheep or cattle, ship you off here, andsell you for whatever your master gave them?"