"See to the lid yourself, and have the whole bound round at once,for fear any one should rob you by the way when you are asleep in yourship."
When Ulysses heard this he put the lid on the chest and made it fastwith a bond that Circe had taught him. He had done so before anupper servant told him to come to the bath and wash himself. He wasvery glad of a warm bath, for he had had no one to wait upon himever since he left the house of Calypso, who as long as he remainedwith her had taken as good care of him as though he had been a god.When the servants had done washing and anointing him with oil, and hadgiven him a clean cloak and shirt, he left the bath room and joinedthe guests who were sitting over their wine. Lovely Nausicaa stoodby one of the bearing-posts supporting the roof if the cloister, andadmired him as she saw him pass. "Farewell stranger," said she, "donot forget me when you are safe at home again, for it is to me firstthat you owe a ransom for having saved your life." gray wigs
And Ulysses said, "Nausicaa, daughter of great Alcinous, may Jovethe mighty husband of Juno, grant that I may reach my home; so shall Ibless you as my guardian angel all my days, for it was you who savedme."
When he had said this, he seated himself beside Alcinous. Supper wasthen served, and the wine was mixed for drinking. A servant led in thefavourite bard Demodocus, and set him in the midst of the company,near one of the bearing-posts supporting the cloister, that he mightlean against it. Then Ulysses cut off a piece of roast pork withplenty of fat (for there was abundance left on the joint) and saidto a servant, "Take this piece of pork over to Demodocus and tellhim to eat it; for all the pain his lays may cause me I will salutehim none the less; bards are honoured and respected throughout theworld, for the muse teaches them their songs and loves them."
The servant carried the pork in his fingers over to Demodocus, whotook it and was very much pleased. They then laid their hands on thegood things that were before them, and as soon as they had had toeat and drink, Ulysses said to Demodocus, "Demodocus, there is noone in the world whom I admire more than I do you. You must havestudied under the Muse, Jove's daughter, and under Apollo, soaccurately do you sing the return of the Achaeans with all theirsufferings and adventures. If you were not there yourself, you musthave heard it all from some one who was. Now, however, change yoursong and tell us of the wooden horse which Epeus made with theassistance of Minerva, and which Ulysses got by stratagem into thefort of Troy after freighting it with the men who afterwards sackedthe city. If you will sing this tale aright I will tell all theworld how magnificently heaven has endowed you."
The bard inspired of heaven took up the story at the point wheresome of the Argives set fire to their tents and sailed away whileothers, hidden within the horse, were waiting with Ulysses in theTrojan place of assembly. For the Trojans themselves had drawn thehorse into their fortress, and it stood there while they sat incouncil round it, and were in three minds as to what they should do.Some were for breaking it up then and there; others would have itdragged to the top of the rock on which the fortress stood, and thenthrown down the precipice; while yet others were for letting it remainas an offering and propitiation for the gods. And this was how theysettled it in the end, for the city was doomed when it took in thathorse, within which were all the bravest of the Argives waiting tobring death and destruction on the Trojans. Anon he sang how thesons of the Achaeans issued from the horse, and sacked the town,breaking out from their ambuscade. He sang how they over ran thecity hither and thither and ravaged it, and how Ulysses went raginglike Mars along with Menelaus to the house of Deiphobus. It wasthere that the fight raged most furiously, nevertheless by Minerva'shelp he was victorious.
All this he told, but Ulysses was overcome as he heard him, andhis cheeks were wet with tears. He wept as a woman weeps when shethrows herself on the body of her husband who has fallen before hisown city and people, fighting bravely in defence of his home andchildren. She screams aloud and flings her arms about him as he liesgasping for breath and dying, but her enemies beat her from behindabout the back and shoulders, and carry her off into slavery, to alife of labour and sorrow, and the beauty fades from her cheeks-even so piteously did Ulysses weep, but none of those presentperceived his tears except Alcinous, who was sitting near him, andcould hear the sobs and sighs that he was heaving. The king,therefore, at once rose and said:
"Aldermen and town councillors of the Phaeacians, let Demodocuscease his song, for there are those present who do not seem to likeit. From the moment that we had done supper and Demodocus began tosing, our guest has been all the time groaning and lamenting. He isevidently in great trouble, so let the bard leave off, that we may allenjoy ourselves, hosts and guest alike. This will be much more as itshould be, for all these festivities, with the escort and the presentsthat we are making with so much good will, are wholly in his honour,and any one with even a moderate amount of right feeling knows that heought to treat a guest and a suppliant as though he were his ownbrother.