THE GODS IN COUNCIL--MIVERVA'S VISIT TO ITHACA--THE CHALLENGE FROM TELEMACHUS TO THE SUITORS.
In the meantime I will go to Ithaca, to put heart into Ulysses' son Telemachus; I will embolden him to call the Achaeans in assembly, and speak out to the suitors of his mother Penelope, who persist in eating up any number of his sheep and oxen; I will also conduct him to Sparta and to Pylos, to see if he can hear anything about the return of his dear father--for this will make people speak well of him."
As soon as he touched his lyre and began to sing Telemachus spoke low to Minerva, with his head close to hers that no man might hear.
"My mother," answered Telemachus, tells me I am son to Ulysses, but it is a wise child that knows his own father.
"Sir," said Telemachus, "as regards your question, so long as my father was here it was well with us and with the house, but the gods in their displeasure have willed it otherwise, and have hidden him away more closely than mortal man was ever yet hidden.
"Sir," answered Telemachus, "it has been very kind of you to talk to me in this way, as though I were your own son, and I will do all you tell me; I know you want to be getting on with your voyage, but stay a little longer till you have taken a bath and refreshed yourself.
With these words she flew away like a bird into the air, but she had given Telemachus courage, and had made him think more than ever about his father.
The epic ended by disposing of the surviving personages in a double marriage, Telemachus
wedding Circe, and Telegonus Penelope.
They think it strange, therefore, that Telemachus
should not have met him when he went to Lacedaemon.
"In the old story, my dear sir, Mentor sometimes surprised Telemachus
. I am Mentor--without being, I hope, quite so long-winded as that respectable philosopher.
It is not wholly irrespective of our personal feelings that we record HIM as the Mentor of our young Telemachus
, for it is good to know that our town produced the founder of the latter's fortunes.