Homers Odyssey | Chapter 48 of 54

Author: Homer | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 889581 Views | Add a Review

Please hit next button if you encounter an empty page

ARGOS

 

Athena has restored Odysseus’ disguise. Still believing him to be a shipwrecked sailor from Crete, Eumaeus is escorting him towards the royal palace. 

 

EUMAEUS

All right there, old timer?

 

ODYSSEUS

I’m just about managing, thanks.

 

EUMAEUS

Not going too fast, am I? I’m no spring chicken myself

but you’ve got a good number of years over me.

 

ODYSSEUS

There’s a few miles left in these old legs yet.

 

EUMAEUS

What about Telemachus, eh?

See – he doesn’t know you from a hole in the road,

but he only invites you down to his palace for a square meal –

and you a perfect stranger, and hardly royalty – no offence and all that.

He’s a fine boy grown into a fine man.

 

ODYSSEUS

His father would be proud of him.

 

EUMAEUS

His heart would burst – believe me.

That’s one reunion I hope to live to see.

 

Melanthius, another herder, crosses their path.

MELANTHIUS

Well, look who it isn’t.

 

EUMAEUS (to Odysseus)

Ignore him. He’s no better than me.

 

MELANTHIUS

Eumaeus, loyal swineherd to Odysseus.

So who’s the clapped-out old creature you’re taking to market today?

 

EUMAEUS

I’ll not trade insults with you, Melanthius. Good day.

 

MELANTHIUS

I thought you were the creakiest pile of bones on the whole island,

but this one takes the biscuit.

What a filth-bag.

 

EUMAEUS

Good day, Melanthius.

 

MELANTHIUS

Hey, beggar-man thing – are you dead or alive?

 

EUMAEUS

We’re minding our own business, why don’t you mind yours?

 

MELANTHIUS

It is my business.

There’s too many spongers and cadgers hanging around

without you towing one more into town.

If he comes to my house begging for scraps and crusts

he’ll get a boot in the face,

then I’ll slam his pilfering fingers in the door.

(He hits Odysseus with his stick.)

There’s something for your troubles, you scum.

Get back to your shanty.

 

EUMAEUS

Leave him alone!

 

MELANTHIUS

Oh, do you want some too?

 

EUMAEUS

We’re heading for the palace, if you must know.

 

MELANTHIUS

The palace! Those suitors will rip him to pieces just for sport.

They’ll break stools over his head,

they’ll use his teeth for dice.

 

EUMAEUS (to Odysseus)

Take no heed. Just let it go.

 

MELANTHIUS (his voice disappearing behind them)

The palace – oh that’s a good one.

They’ll use his backside for target practice.

They’ll push a hook up his arse and pull him inside out …

 

EUMAEUS

No respect. No consideration. It never used to be like this.

 

A dog barks and whines pitifully.

Well, would you look at that sad sight,

a sign of the times if ever there was one.

 

ODYSSEUS

What’s a noble breed of dog like that doing sleeping on a pile of dung?

 

EUMAEUS

You might well ask. That’s Argos. Odysseus’ dog.

 

ODYSSEU

Argos?

 

EUMAEUS

Trained him as a pup, he did. Taught him to hunt.

But then he sailed for Troy – never saw him quarter a field

or bring down a hare going at full lick.

I swear he was the best hound ever. Now look at him.

 

ODYSSEUS

Come here, boy.

 

EUMAEUS

Jumping with fleas and ticks.

 

ODYSSEUS

There’s a boy. There’s a boy.

 

EUMAEUS

Eyes all gummed up, ears weeping from bites and cuts.

 

ODYSSEUS

You’re a beautiful feller. There’s a boy.

 

EUMAEUS

Gone in the legs. Horrible to watch. Well, he likes you right enough.

 

ODYSSEUS

There now, rest your head, old boy. There now. There now.

 

EUMAEUS

He’s a tired one. Poor thing can hardly stand.

Likes the taste of your hand though. Must be the salt.

 

ODYSSEUS

Lie down, lie down. There’s a boy. Lie down.

You sleep. It’s over now. Lie down. You sleep. There’s a boy.

 

The dog stops breathing.

EUMAEUS

Is he gone?

 

ODYSSEUS

He’s at rest now.

 

EUMAEUS

It’s a blessing.

Only had eyes for his master.

 

You’ve got a gentle way with animals, old timer, I’ll say that.

 

ODYSSEUS (whispering)

Sleep now, Argos. Loyal friend.

 

Music and laughter drifts towards them from the palace.

Someone’s having a good time.

 

EUMAEUS

The Palace of Odysseus. Magnificent, eh?

 

ODYSSEUS

Like a mirage.

 

EUMAEUS

Not as splendid as it was

 

before those mongrels made themselves at home, but still a fine spectacle.

Imagine coming home – seeing that after twenty years at war and at sea.

Imagine a feeling like that.

 

ODYSSEUS

Yes, imagine.

 

EUMAEUS

Well, come on, the main door’s standing open. Don’t dawdle.

 

Comments

user comment image
Alice
Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

Share your Thoughts for Homers Odyssey

500+ SHARES Facebook Twitter Reddit Google LinkedIn Email
Share Button
Share Button