ὣς φάτο, τοῦ δ’ ἤκουσε Μέδων πεπνυμένα εἰδώς·
πεπτηὼς γὰρ ἔκειτο ὑπὸ θρόνον, ἀμφὶ δὲ δέρμα
ἕστο βοὸς νεόδαρτον, ἀλύσκων κῆρα μέλαιναν.
So [Telemachus] spoke, and wise Medon heard him; for he had crouched down and was lying under a chair, and had wrapped around himself the newly flayed skin of an ox, avoiding grim death. (Od. 22.361–3)
Immediately following the death of the suitors, near the end of Odyssey
22, we witness three scenes of supplication in quick succession. The first and unsuccessful suppliant is Leodes, the only suitor to survive, albeit briefly, the Mnesterophonia
. The second and third suppliants, respectively, are the bard Phemius and the herald Medon. Leodes pleads directly with Odysseus for his life, citing his previous conduct, that he had said or done no wrong to the women of the household. He also claims that he had actually attempted to keep the suitors' bad behaviour in check, an assertion corroborated by the narrator's own words (21.146–67). Odysseus rejects Leodes' plea and decapitates the prophet, putting a sudden end to his supplication (22.310–29). After this failed supplication, Phemius nervously considers either seeking refuge at the altar of Zeus Herkeios, located in Odysseus' courtyard, or directly supplicating Odysseus. He chooses the latter and also appeals to Telemachus as witness that he sang for the suitors only under compulsion (330–53). Telemachus intervenes and Medon, who overhears Telemachus' plea for mercy on behalf of Phemius and Medon, suddenly jumps up, throws off the ox hide under which he has escaped notice, grasps Telemachus by the knees, and asks the young man to vouch for and save him from Odysseus too (354–77).