|The Odyssey for Boys and Girls|
|by Alfred J. Church|
|Lively retelling of Homer's Odyssey, telling of the wanderings of Ulysses and his adventures with the giant Cyclops and the enchantress Circe as he makes his way home to his beloved Ithaca. There, after slaying the suitors who have been wooing his wife Penelope, he is reunited with his family after twenty long years. Ages 8-12 |
THE SLAYING OF THE SUITORS
 ULYSSES cried aloud: "This work is done; and now I will try at
another mark." As he spoke, he aimed his arrow at
Antinoüs. The man was raising a cup to his lips.
There was not a thought of danger in his mind: who
could have dreamt that any man, though he were ever so
strong and brave, should dare such a thing, being but
one against many? The head of the arrow passed through
the neck of Antinoüs; and the blood gushed out of his
nostrils, and he fell, overturning the table that was
near him. All the Suitors, when they saw him fall,
leapt from their seats, but when they looked, all the
arms had been taken down from the walls. For a moment
they doubted whether the stranger had killed the man by
chance or on purpose; but Ulysses cried out: "I am
Ulysses! Dogs, you thought that I should never come
back. Therefore you
 have devoured my goods, and
made suit to my wife, though I was yet living, and have
had no fear of god or of man before your eyes. And now
a sudden destruction has come upon you all."
When they heard these words, the Suitors trembled for
fear. There was only one man among them who could so
much as speak. This was Eurymachus. He said: "If you
are indeed Ulysses of Ithaca, you speak the truth. We
have done great wrong to you. But the man who was most
to blame lies dead here. It was Antinoüs who was the
chief of your enemies. What he desired was not merely
marriage with your wife, but to destroy your house, and
to be king of Ithaca. But we will pay you back twenty
times for all that we have taken of yours."
Ulysses said: "Talk not of paying back. You shall die
this day, all of you."
ULYSSES KILLING THE SUITORS
Eurymachus said: "This man will not stay his hand, but
will kill us all with his arrows. Let us make a rush
for the door, and we will raise a cry in the city, and
this archer will soon have shot his last."
As he spoke, he rushed on with
two-  edged knife in his
hand; but Ulysses shot an arrow at him as he came, and
he fell forward dead. And Telemăchus slew another with
his spear; but he could not draw out the spear from the
wound, lest the enemy should take him at a disadvantage
as he stooped.
Now it was plain that when Ulysses should have shot
away all his arrows, the Suitors would have the better
of them. So Telemăchus ran to the armoury, and fetched
down four helmets, and four shields, and eight spears.
With these he armed himself and the two servants—that
is, the swineherd and the herdman of the cattle. Now
while Ulysses had yet arrows in his quiver, the Suitors
held back, for the three bravest of them had been
slain, and they had neither armour nor weapon. But the
goatherd saw their need, and he crept secretly up to
the armoury and brought down thence twelve helmets and
shields and as many spears. When Ulysses saw this, he
cried to Telemăchus: "There is treachery, my son.
Have the women done this thing, or is it the goatherd?"
 answered: "It is my fault, father. I
left the door of the armoury open." While some of the
Suitors were arming themselves, the goatherd went again
to the armoury, but the swineherd and his companion
followed him, and caught him as he was taking arms, and
bound him with a rope. As soon as they had done this,
they hastened back to the hall and stood by the side of
Ulysses. Then a certain Agelaüs said to the other
Suitors: "Friends, we can overcome these four if we
join together. Let six of us throw our spears all at
once." This they did, but the spears went wide of the
mark. But the spears of the four went not wide, for
each slew his man, and this they did again and again.
On the other hand, both Telemăchus and the swineherd
were wounded, but not to their great hurt. The
swineherd slew Ctesippus, and as he smote him, he
cried: "Take that for the ox-foot which you gave to
our guest." And all the courage that was in the
Suitors left them, and they were as a flock of birds
which is scattered and torn by eagles.
 Leiodes, the priest, prayed Ulysses that he would
spare him, saying that he had done no wrong, but had
only served at the altar. But Ulysses answered: "It
is enough that you have served at the altar of these
wicked men, and that you have made suit to my wife."
And he slew him without mercy. But the minstrel and
the herald he spared. "Go," said he, "and sit by the
altar." So they went and sat by the altar, fearing
lest they also should be slain.
So the Suitors were slain, every one of them. And
Ulysses bade the women come and wash the hall and the
tables with water and smoke them with sulphur. And he
said to the nurse: "Go now, and tell the queen that
her husband has come back."
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