Homer’s Story of Argos, the Hound Argos was the old hunting-hound of a powerful, cunning, ancient Greek warrior, Odysseus. Argos, the ever faithful, even after 20 years, tried to rise and wag his tail, though abandoned and exhausted, when he heard his master’s voice. The gracious Odysseus could not caress his old puppy for fear of being found out, so as he passed him by, the fearless Odysseus shed a silent, salty tear for his faithful hound whose joy at his master’s return turned into his last, dying look goodbye. Blind Homer ends this saddest story of a master and his dog, with the folks’ folly of the master-less slave in a will-less fog. BH Nov 2014
...While Odysseus spoke an old hound, lying near, pricked up his ears and lifted up his muzzle. This was Argos; trained as a puppy by Odysseus, but never taken on a hunt before his master sailed for Troy. The young men, afterward, hunted wild goats with him, and hare, and deer, but he had grown old in his master's absence. Treated as rubbish now, he lay at last upon a mass of dung before the gates- manure of mules and cows, piled there until fieldhands could spread it on the king's estate. Abandoned there, and half destroyed with ticks, old Argos lay.
But when he knew he heard Odysseus' voice nearby, he did his best to wag his tail, nose down, with flattened ears, having no strength to move nearer his master. And the man looked away, wiping a salt tear from his cheek; but he hid this from Eumaios. Then he said:
"I marvel that they leave this hound to lie here on the dung pile; he would have been a fine dog, from the look of him, though 1 can't say as to his power and speed when he was young. You find the same good build in house dogs, table dogs landowners keep all for style.”
And you replied, Eumaios: "A hunter owned him-but the man is dead in some far place. If this old hound could show the form he had when Lord Odysseus left him, going to Troy, you'd see him swift and strong. He never shrank from any savage thing he'd brought to bay in the deep woods; on the scent no other dog kept up with him. Now misery has him in leash. His owner died abroad, and here the women slaves will take no care of him. You know how servants are: without a master they have no will to labor, or excel. For God who views the wide world takes away half the manhood of a man, that day he goes into captivity and slavery."
Eumaios crossed the court and went straight forward into the megaron among the suitors; but death and darkness in that instant closed the eyes of Argos, who had seen his master, Odysseus, after twenty years… Homer’s Odyssey Book 17, Lines ~ 290-327 (tran. by Robert Fitzgerald, Doubleday & Co.,1961)
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