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NOW the goddess, Pallas Athene, had thought for Telemachus, and she came to him where he lay in the vestibule of Menelaus’ house. His comrade, Peisistratus was asleep, but Telemachus was wakeful, thinking upon his father.

Athene stood before his bed and said to him, ‘Telemachus, no longer shouldst thou wander abroad, for the time has come when thou shouldst return. Come. Rouse Menelaus, and let him send thee upon thy way.’

Then Telemachus woke Peisistratus out of his sleep and told him that it was best that they should be going on their journey. But Peisistratus said, ‘Tarry until it is dawn, Telemachus, when Menelaus will come to us and send us on our way.’

Then when it was light King Menelaus came to them. When he heard that they would depart he told the lady Helen to bid the maids prepare a meal for them. He himself, with Helen his wife, and Megapenthes, his son, went down into his treasure-chamber and brought forth for gifts to Telemachus a two-handled cup and a great mixing bowl of silver. And Helen took out of a chest a beautiful robe that she herself had made and embroidered. They came to Telemachus where he stood by the chariot with Peisistratus ready to depart. Then Menelaus gave him the beautiful two-handled cup that had been a gift to himself from the king of the Sidonians. Megapenthes brought up the great bowl of silver and put it in the chariot, and beautiful Helen came to him holding the embroidered robe.

‘I too have a gift, dear child, for thee,’ she said. ‘Bring this robe home and leave it in thy mother’s keeping. I want thee to have it to give to thy bride when thou bringest her into thy father’s halls.’

Then were the horses yoked to the chariot and Telemachus and Peisistratus bade farewell to Menelaus and Helen who had treated them so kindly. As they were ready to go Menelaus poured out of a golden cup wine as an offering to the gods. And as Menelaus poured it out, Telemachus prayed that he might find Odysseus, his father, in his home.

Now as he prayed a bird flew from the right hand and over the horses’ heads. It was an eagle, and it bore in its claws a goose that belonged to the farmyard. Telemachus asked Menelaus was this not a sign from Zeus, the greatest of the Gods.

Then said Helen, ‘Hear me now, for I will prophesy from this sign to you. Even as yonder eagle has flown down from the mountain and killed a goose of the farmyard, so will Odysseus come from far to his home and kill the wooers who are there.’

‘May Zeus grant that it be so,’ said Telemachus. He spoke and lashed the horses, and they sped across the plain.

When they came near the city of Pylos, Telemachus spoke to his comrade, Peisistratus, and said:

‘Do not take me past my ship, son of Nestor. Thy good father expects me to return to his house, but I fear that if I should, he, out of friendliness, would be anxious to make me stay many days. But I know that I should now return to Ithaka.’

The son of Nestor turned the horses towards the sea and they drove the chariot to where Telemachus’ ship was anchored. Then Telemachus gathered his followers, and he bade them take on board the presents that Menelaus and Helen had given him.

They did this, and they raised the mast and the sails and the rowers took their seats on the benches. A breeze came and the sails took it and Telemachus and his companions sailed towards home. And all unknown to the youth, his father, Odysseus, was even then nearing his home.

Next: Chapter I