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Odysseus at Eumeus

When Odysseus approached the dwelling of the swineherd Evmeyo, he was alone at home and worked at the entrance. The dogs saw Odysseus and rushed at him with a furious bark. They would have torn Odysseus to pieces if Eumeus had not come running and driven them away.

- Wanderer, - Eumeus said to Odysseus, not recognizing him under the guise of a beggar, - you would have died, and a new sadness would have hit me, except for the sadness that torments me about the deceased Odysseus. But let's go to my house, I'll feed you and let you rest.

Odysseus went to the dwelling of Eumeus, built of rough stone. In the yard, near the house, there were barns for pigs. Eumeus and Odysseus entered the house, and Eumeus seated the wanderer on stacked brushwood covered with chamois skin. Then he went to the barn where the pigs were, took two, slaughtered and roasted them. He also poured Eumeus wine for the meal into a wooden goblet and put it all on the table. Eumeus bitterly complained, preparing a meal, about violent suitors, ruining the house of Odysseus worse than sea robbers and destroying his numerous herds. Odysseus listened attentively to him and pondered how to take revenge on the suitors. During the meal, Odysseus began to ask Eumeus about his master, and when the swineherd said that his master had died, Odysseus swore that the master would return home, and would return soon. But Eumeus did not believe his oath. Eumeus asked the wanderer who he was. And Odysseus told him a fictional story about his disasters.

He told him that his older brothers had offended him by cheating him in the division of the inheritance, that he married a rich heiress, became rich himself, was near Troy, and returned to his homeland, went to Egypt. He told how the Egyptians killed almost all of his companions because they plundered their city. But he escaped by begging the king of Egypt to spare him. He allegedly spent seven years in Egypt, and from there he crossed over to Phoenicia. One Phoenician persuaded him to go to Libya. He went with him, but Zeus smashed their ship with his lightning. Only he was saved; a wave threw him onto the shore of the Thesprotian country. On this island, the king of the Thesprots allegedly told him that Odysseus was returning to his homeland with rich gifts. Finally, on the ship of the Thesprot, he went to Dulichi. But the Thesprotians planned to sell him into slavery; only with great difficulty did he escape from them at the time when they landed on the shore of Ithaca. He believed the whole fictional story of Eumeus, did not believe only what the wanderer heard about Odysseus from the king of Thesprot. Eumeus reproached the wanderer that he was telling this about Odysseus in order to receive an award from his relatives here in Ithaca. But Odysseus said to him:

- Listen, Eumeus, if Odysseus returns, then promise to give me new clothes, but if I deceived you, then throw me, calling the shepherds, from the top of the cliff into the sea, so that different vagabonds would not dare to invent fables in the future.


Soon the shepherds returned with their flock. They slaughtered a fat pig and sat down to supper. During dinner, Eumeus honored the wanderer with the best piece and first served him a goblet of wine, as a guest.

When they were all having their supper in peace, a violent storm arose outside with rain. It became cold. Odysseus did not even have a cloak to cover himself during sleep. Then he told Eumeus and the shepherds such a story that, having understood the hint, they gave him a cloak.

- Listen, Eumeus, listen to you too, - so began Odysseus. - Once near Troy Menelaus, Odysseus and I lay in ambush. It was cold at night in the thickets of reeds, the snow was falling in large flakes, but I forgot to take my raincoat; Finally, I told Odysseus about this. He immediately came up with a trick. Rising up, he woke up the soldiers lying nearby and said that he had a bad dream, and therefore he was afraid that they had gone so far from the ships; we need to send someone for reinforcements to Agamemnon. Immediately one of the soldiers got up, threw off his cloak and went to the ships. I picked up my cloak, covered myself with it and slept peacefully until dawn.

Understood Eumeus' hint. He prepared a bed for Odysseus by the hearth, spread a sheepskin and a goatskin, and let Odysseus cover himself with his cloak, which he wore in winter. Sweet sleep Odysseus. Eumeus himself did not stay at home. Hanging a sword over his shoulder, taking a spear in his hands and covering himself with a cloak, he went to the herd, which was grazing at the foot of the cliff.