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The Wine Red Sea:  Journeys of Odysseus
© Copyright 2014 - 2018 by Peter J Ponzio

The Prince Returns - Book XV

At the end of book thirteen, Athena and Odysseus parted; Odysseus to journey to the home of the swineherd, Athena to retrieve Telemachus home.  The goddess traveled to Sparta, where Telemachus and Psistratus remained at the palace of Atreus.  Telemachus was still awake when Athena appeared to him, saying: It’s wrong Telemachus, wrong to rove so far, so long from home, leaving your own holdings unprotected-crowds in your palace so brazen they’ll carve up all your wealth, devour it all, and then your journey here will come to nothing. Quickly, press Menelaus, lord of the warcry, to speed you home at once, if you want to find your irreproachable mother still inside your house. Even now her father and brothers urge Penelope to marry Eurymachus, who excels all other suitors. . . (XV 11-20) The goddess also warned the prince that an ambush awaited him between Ithaca and Same.  She advised him to seek out the goatherd, Eumaeus, and to spend the night with him.  Once Athena departed, Telemachus roused Psistratus, eager to go at once.  Psistratus, however, convinced the prince to wait until morning to take proper leave of Menelaus, and take possession of the gifts bestowed on them by the lord of the warcry. On the next morning, the young men approached Menelaus, apprising him of their intention to depart.  Displaying his wisdom, Menelaus advised them as follows:  I’d never detain you here too long, Telemachus, not if your heart is set on going home. I’d find fault with another host, I’m sure, too warm to his guests, too pressing or too cold. Balance is best in all things.  It’s bad either way, spurring the stranger home who wants to linger, holding the one who longs to leave-you know, ‘Welcome the coming, speed the parting guest.’ (XV 75-81) Truly, the son of Atreus was the perfect host - if only Odysseus met with such a good host on his journey homeward.
Telemachus and Penelope