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Page 291

STORIES OF GREECE AND ROME
THE STORY OF ULYSSES

When the slaughtering of the suitors was ended, Ulysses bade the servants cleanse the hall with water and with sulphur. When this was done, he bade Eurycleia, the nurse, go to Penelope and tell her that her husband had indeed returned.
Eurycleia went in all haste to the upper chamber to tell her mistress that her lord had returned. So great was her joy that her feet stumbled one over the other. She stood above the lady's head and said, "Awake, Penelope, dear child, and see with your own eyes the very thing you have desired for all these years. Indeed Ulysses has come back and has slain the suitors that devoured his wealth."
But Penelope made answer, "Dear nurse, the gods have taken away your reason-the gods who have. it in their power to make foolish the wise and give wisdom to the simple. Why do you mock me and rouse me from sweet slumber, the sweetest since the day Ulysses went forth to Troy? Go back to your chamber; your age alone saves you from further rebuke."
Then the good nurse answered her, "I am not mocking, dear child; truly Ulysses is here and has come home even as I tell you. He is the guest who was so dishonored. Telemachus knew, but kept the secret, in order that with his father he might take vengeance on the haughty suitors."
Thus she spoke, and then was Penelope glad, and leaping from her bed, with tears she spoke, "Come, dear nurse, tell me all the truth. How could he, being but one man, bring death to the crowd of shameless suitors."
The nurse made answer, "I saw not and I know not how Ulysses slew them, but it is your lord himself who has returned. I know for certain, for I saw the scar that the boar dealt him with his white tusk. I wished to tell you at once, but he laid his hand upon my mouth and in the

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