Telemakhe Gives It a Try

"After all these years, and now Dad decides to give me to whomever can pull off Odysseus' favourite party trick," said Telemakhe, "I wonder what happens if I'm the only one to do it?"

Telemakhe removed her crimson cape with a flourish, folded it and placed it over a chair. She indicated for Eumaios to bring her the bow and string. She dug a trench to hold the stave, and standing on the door sill she began bracing to the bow nock. The suitors were surprised with what apparent skill she addressed the task.

Telemakhe tried once and could not bring the string near the nock. She tried a second time, but this time could not manage the cunning arrangement with the nock, which required a bit of quick dexterity. The third time Telemakhe pulled the string and bent the bow, her hand ready to perform that final act; her mother coughed and shook her head. Telemakhe feigned being unable to make the last couple of inches.

"This is totally bogus. The last thing I want to be seen as is a helpless woman. Here, someone else take this piece and see what you can do," said Telemakhe in apparent disgust.

Copyright © 1998 Katherine Phelps