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Pallas Athene went through the city, likening herself to the herald of wise Alkinoös, as she was devising the return of great-hearted Odysseus. (8.7-9)
Athene takes on the guise of Alkinoös’s herald. Her objective is not necessarily to trick the townspeople about anything but only to spread the news, which she could not possibly do in her true form without causing a stir.
(Odysseus, to Demodokos): ‘Come to another part of the story, sing us the wooden horse, which Epeios made with Athene helping, the stratagem great Odysseus filled once with men and brought it to the upper city, and it was these men who sacked Ilion.’ (8.492-495)
Odysseus uses his "disguise" to relive old memories and emotions. Notice, too, that he wants Demodokos to hurry up and get to the part of the story involving trickery!
(Alkinoös:) ‘Here is this stranger, I do not know who he is, come wandering suppliant here to my house from the eastern or western people. He urges conveyance, and entreats us for its assurance. So let us, as we have done before, hasten to convey him, for neither has any other man who has come to my house stayed here grieving a long time for the matter of convoy.’ (8.28-33)
When Alkinoös refers to past visitors “to my house,” we see that this is no special case of remarkable hospitality. Clearly, this is the norm for the generous Phaiakians.