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Summary Book XIX

Book 19
Telemachus and Odysseus remove the arms. Melantho again taunts Odysseus, but is chided by Penelope, who has come to hear the stranger's tale. After her lament, Penelope listens to Odysseus' lie, with false information about himself: that the Phaeacians left him in Thesprotia with King Pheidon, whence Odysseus went to consult Zeus' oracle at Dodona. The nurse Eurycleia is instructed to wash the beggar's feet: his resemblance to Odysseus is confirmed when she comes upon a scar on his knee, which Odysseus received as a boy from a boar's tusk. Odysseus seizes the nurse and swears her to silence. A dream suggests to Penelope Odysseus' slaughter of the suitors, but, she says, this dream must have come through the ivory gate of delusion, not the gate of horn, whence true dreams come. She decides to wed the man who performs Odysseus' feat: to string his bow and fire an arrow through the holes in the blades of twelve axes standing in a row. Penelope then retires.