Friday, August 8, 2014

The Trial of the Bow

Of all the men who tried to bend the bow, not one of them had yet succeeded. Now only two remained, Eurymachus and Antinoüs.

Earlier, when the Suitors were having breakfast Odysseus was given the same amount of food as everyone else. Ctesippus was angry because Odysseus was given the same amount of food as everyone else, so he threw a cow foot at Odysseus. Odysseus moved out of the way and the foot made a dent on the wall.

 Telemachus said, “If you had hit my guest with that, your father would have to prepare your funeral, not your wedding.”

Another suitor said, “It would be bad to do harm to Telemachus or his guest, because he has to choose one of us to marry his mother.”

“My mother can marry who she wants, but I won’t force her to leave this house” said Telemachus.

Everyone laughed, but it was not the laugh of people who were happy. Then one of the suitors said, “Take the stranger away, he makes the room seems dark when he is here.”

Then Penelope took down the bow of Odysseus and brought it to them. She said, “Whoever can hit the target that Telemachus sets up the best, I will marry.” Telemachus set up the target and wanted to go first, but Odysseus signed to him not to do it. First up was Leiodes. He was the strongest, but he wasn't used to working with his hands. He said, “I can’t bend the bow, and I am afraid that it will make many people sad today.”

Then Antinoüs said, “Don’t say things like that! Go get some fat from the kitchen, and rub on the string to make it soft.” They rubbed the fat on it and tried again.

Now, Eurymachus was warming the bow at the fire, then he tried to bend it, but he couldn’t. “I am not mournful for not marrying Penelope,” he said, “I am sad because I am weaker than the great Odysseus!”

Antinoüs said, “Don’t give up, this is the holy day of Aphetor, and he isn't happy that we are doing this, let’s try again tomorrow.”

But Odysseus said, “Let me try, I want to see if I still have the strength that I did when I was young.”

All the suitors were angry that he would even think of bending it, but Telemachus said, “It is my bow, and I can choose if the stranger can use it or not. Go to your room mother, and take your maids with you, this is for the men to decide.”

Penelope left, and Telemachus told the nurse to keep Penelope in her room no matter what. He gave the bow to Odysseus, and Odysseus felt it to see if it had been damaged. After he found that it wasn't hurt, he twanged the string, and then he shot an arrow and hit the target.

“Come, Telemachus,” he said, “There is still another feast to be had today.” Telemachus stood at Odysseus’ side with a spear.

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