Books 13-16: Odysseus arrives in Ithaca

Book XIII: Odysseus arrives in Ithaca

The Phaeacians take Odysseus to Ithaca by sea and leave him there asleep with all the treasure they had given him. Poseidon punishes the Phaeacians for helping his enemy Odysseus by turning their ship into stone, but is prevented by Zeus from hurling a mountain onto their city. When Odysseus wakes up in the morning, he does not recognise where he is as Athena has cast a mist around him. She comes up to him disguised as a shepherd and asks him who he is. He lies to her, telling the first of his Cretan tales. Athena reveals herself and commends him for his prudence. She explains why she has not been with him recently - she feared the wrath of Poseidon - and hides his treasure in a cave so it cannot be stolen. She elucidates the political situation on Ithaca and tells him what to do. She then disguises him as an old beggar, tells him to visit the swineherd Eumaeus, a friend, and herself goes to Sparta to bring Telemachus back from Menelaus' hospitality.

Book XIV: Odysseus and Eumaeus

Odysseus meets Eumaeus the noble swineherd. He is Odysseus' old servant, and still feels an undying loyalty to his master, even though he is convinced he is dead. He entertains his new guest, who is still in disguise, and asks him where he comes from. Odysseus replies with his second Cretan tale, in which he claims to have heard of Odysseus' situation. Eumaeus is unbelieving, since he has heard false tales of his master from many charlatans in the past, but he continues to show hospitality to his guest. Later in the night, Odysseus tells a story of an ambush at Troy to elicit a cloak from his host.

Book XV: Telemachus comes to Eumaeus' hut

Telemachus is ordered to leave Sparta by Athena and does so, after receiving gifts from Menelaus. He goes back via Pylos, but does not speak to Nestor again. As he is about to leave for Ithaca, he meets a fugitive, Theoclymenus. Theoclymenus is on the run after committing murder in Argos. Telemachus agrees to take him on board his ship and sets sail for home. Meanwhile, Eumaeus tells Odysseus of Laertes and of his heritage. He is the son of a king, but was kidnapped by Phoenicians and sold as a slave. Telemachus now returns to Ithaca, and Theoclymenus reads a portent.

Book XVI: Telemachus recognises Odysseus

Telemachus comes to Eumaeus' hut, where he finds the noble swineherd and Odysseus. He tells the apparent stranger of the problems that afflict the royal household. He then dispatches Eumaeus to the palace in order to tell Penelope that he has returned safely from his journey. Now that he can do so safely, Odysseus reveals who he really is to Telemachus. Happily reunited, they work out a plan to destroy the suitors. The suitors, returned from their unsuccessful ambush, debate on how to continue from here. Antinous counsels that Telemachus be attacked and killed before he reaches the palace, but Amphinomus vetoes this idea. Medon the herald tells Penelope what the suitors have been planning, and she angrily rails at them for their treachery. Eumaeus returns to his hut.

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