Odyssey for Boys and Girls - Alfred J. Church

How There Was Peace Between Ulysses and His People

Now all this time there went the news through the town how the Suitors had been killed. And the people came from all parts to the king's palace, crying and mourning; and they took up the dead bodies and carried them away and buried them. And the bodies of them that came from the islands round about, they gave to the fishermen that they might carry them each to his home. And when they had done this, they gathered together in the great square of the town till it was filled from one end to the other.

Then stood Eupeithes, who was father to Antinoüs, the man who was first killed by Ulysses, and said: "Friends, this man has done great evil to this land and this people. He took away with him many brave men in his ships when he went to Troy; twelve ships he took, and there were fifty men in each. All these he has lost; not one will you ever see again. But he himself has come back. Now, therefore, let us take vengeance on him, and on them that have joined themselves to him, before they flee to some other land. It will be a shame to us for ever and ever, if we sit still and suffer the men who have murdered our sons and our brothers to go free. For myself, I would rather die than suffer such disgrace. Let us go, therefore, before they take ship and escape."

Then Medon the herald stood up in the Assembly, and Phemius the singer with him, and said: "Listen now to me, men of Ithaca: all that Ulysses did to the Suitors, he did by the will of the gods. I myself saw one of them stand by his side—he seemed like to Mentor, but I know that he was a god—and he cheered him on and helped him as he fought, and he turned aside the spears of the Suitors."

Then a certain prophet stood up, a wise man, who knew all things that had been, and all that were yet to come to pass, and he said: "Listen to me, men of Ithaca, these dreadful things are the harvest, but you sowed the seed. For when the wise Mentor told you what you should do, that you should keep your sons back from doing this evil, you would not hear him. You suffered them to waste your king's wealth, and to make suit to his wife, laughing in their hearts, and thinking that he would never come back. See now the end. Listen, therefore, to me. Do not go against this man, lest you also should perish."

So the wise man spoke, and some listened to him, but more than half sprang to their feet, and shouted for the battle. So they armed themselves for the fight, and followed Eupeithes. Meanwhile Athené in heaven said to Zeus, her father: "What is thy will, my father? Must there be still more of war and of the shedding of blood? or wilt thou command that there be peace between Ulysses and his people?"

And Zeus answered: "My daughter, order it as thou wilt. It has been of thy doing that Ulysses has taken vengeance on the Suitors; now see that there be peace between him and his people. Let them forget that their sons and brothers have been slain; and that they be the more ready to forget, see that they have plenty and prosperity in their land."

Then Athené sped down from heaven to earth, that she might bring these things to pass.

Meanwhile they that sat in the house of Laertes had finished their meal, and Ulysses said: "Let some one go out and see what has been done, lest these people come upon us before we are ready." So one of the sons of Dolius went out, and lo! the crowd of armed men was hard at hand, and he cried out to Ulysses: "They are coming. Let us arm."

So they arose and armed themselves. Twelve they were in all—Ulysses and his son, and the swineherd and the herd serving at the table; and Dolius with his six sons, and old Laertes. And Athené came in the shape of Mentor.

Ulysses said to his son: "My son, now you take your place for the first time in the line of battle. Bear yourself therefore worthily, and shame not your father and your father's father."

And Telemăchus said, and when he spoke the light of battle was in his eye: "My father, you shall see what is in the heart of your son; never will I shame my father and my father's father."

Then the old man cried aloud in his joy: "Now I thank the gods that I have lived to see this day, for my son and my son's son contend who shall bear himself more bravely in the battle."

Then Athené said to the old man Laertes: "And pray to the father of the gods and men that he may strengthen your arm, and be you the first to cast your spear."

So the old man prayed; and then he cast his spear; at Eupeithes, the leader of the rebels, he cast it, and smote him on the helmet and broke through the brass, and pierced his brain. Heavily did he fall to the ground, and his armour rang about him. After this Ulysses and his son charged at the rebels, and Athené also lifted up her voice; and the others fled for fear of the heroes and of the voice. And as Ulysses would have followed them, Zeus cast down a thunderbolt from heaven, and it fell at the feet of Athené. And when Athené saw it she cried: "Hold your hand, lest you move the anger of Father Zeus."

So she came forward, having the shape and voice of Mentor, and she spoke to the people, and bade them remember how Ulysses and his father before had been good kings, and how the Suitors had behaved very badly, and had suffered as they deserved. "And now," she said, "he is willing to forget all that is past, and to rule over you as a just man should. Make your peace with him." And she herself inclined their hearts to do this thing. So Ulysses and his people were made friends again.