The Odyssey 4

Dinner with the Spartans. From left, Helen, Menelaus, Telemachus, Pisistratus.

Telemachus has dinner with Menelaus and Helen, and in true old man style, Menelaus makes Telemachus cry by telling stories of Odysseus and how wonderful he was etc, etc. Then he makes everyone cry by telling the story of Agamemnon's return from the war. Way to bring the party down. Luckily Helen's more of the party type:

Then Zeus' daughter Helen thought of something else.

Into the mixing-bowl from which they drank their wine

she slipped a drug, heart's ease, dissolving anger,

magic to make us forget our pains ...

No one who drank it deeply, mulled in wine,

could let a tear roll down his cheeks that day,

not even if his mother should die, his father die,

not even if right before his eyes some enemy brought down

a brother or a darling son with a sharp bronze blade.

and Telemachus hears about his father's cunning tactic of the Trojan horse:

What a piece of work the hero dared and carried off

in the wooden horse where all our best encamped,

our champions armed for bloody death for Troy ...

when along you came, Helen - roused, no doubt,

by a dark power bent on giving Troy some glory,

and dashing Prince Deiphobus squired your every step.

Three times you sauntered round our hollow ambush,

feeling, stroking its flanks,

challenging all our fighters, calling each by name -

yours was the voice of all our long-lost wives!

The Odyssey, The King and Queen of Sparta. Fagles translation, lines 243 - 251 and lines 304 - 313.

Menelaus tells Telemachus that Odysseus is still alive, trapped on an island, but is on his way home and Telemachus should get back quickly - or stay for another year, to listen to Menelaus' war stories and eat pizza. And back at home, the suitors find out Telemachus has gone and are plotting evil deeds.