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The Authoress of the Odyssey, by Samuel Butler, [1922], at

Book III


They reached Pylos on the following morning, and found Nestor, his sons, and all the Pylians celebrating the feast of Neptune. They were cordially received, especially by Nestor's son Pisistratus, and were at once invited to join the festivities. After dinner Nestor asked them who they were, and Telemachus, emboldened by Minerva, explained that they came from Ithaca under Neritum, * and that he was seeking news of the death of his father Ulysses.

When he heard this, Nestor told him all about his own 102 adventures on his way home from Troy, but could give him no news of Ulysses. He touched, however, on the murder of Agamemnon by Ægisthus, and the revenge taken by Orestes. 

Telemachus said he wished he might be able to take a like 201 revenge on the suitors of his mother, who were ruining him; "but this," he exclaimed, "could not happen, not even if the gods wished it. It is too much even to think of."

Minerva reproved him sharply. "The hand of heaven," 229 she said, "can reach far when it has a mind to save a man." Telemachus then changed the conversation, and asked Nestor how Ægisthus managed to kill Agamemnon, who was so much the better man of the two. What was Menelaus doing?

p. 24

253 "Menelaus," answered Nestor, "had not yet returned from 266 his long wanderings. As for Clytemnestra, she was naturally of a good disposition, but was beguiled by Ægisthus, who reigned seven years in Mycene after he had killed Agamemnon. In the eighth year, however, Orestes came from Athens and 311 killed him, and on the very day when Orestes was celebrating the funeral feast of Ægisthus and Clytemnestra, Menelaus returned. Go then to Sparta, and see if he can tell you anything."

329 By this time the sun had set, and Minerva proposed that she and Telemachus should return to their ship, but Nestor would not hear of their doing so. Minerva therefore consented that Telemachus should stay on shore, and explained that she could not remain with him inasmuch as she must start on the following morning for the Cauconians, to recover a large debt that had been long owing to her.

371 Having said this, to the astonishment of all present she flew away in the form of an eagle. Whereon Nestor grasped Telemachus's hand and said he could see that he must be a very important person. He also at once vowed to gild the horns of a heifer and sacrifice her to the goddess. He then took Telemachus home with him and lodged him in his own house.

404 Next day Nestor fulfilled his vow; the heifer was brought in from the plains, her horns were gilded, and Nestor's wife Eurydice and her daughters shouted with delight at seeing her killed.

477 After the banquet that ensued Nestor sent Telemachus and his son Pisistratus off in a chariot and pair for Lacedæmon, which they reached on the following morning, after passing a night in the house of Diodes at Pheræ.


23:* Reading ὑπονηρίρτου for ὑπονηίου, cf. i. 186 and also xiii. 351.

23:† The reader will note that the fact of Orestes having also killed his mother is not expressly stated here, nor in any of the three other passages in which the revenge taken by Orestes is referred to—doubtless as being too horrible. The other passages are "Od." i, 40 and 299 (not given in this summary), and xi. 408, &c.

Next: Book IV. Telemachus at the House of Menelaus