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Then Odysseus rose to go to the city. Athene with kind thought for Odysseus drifted a deep mist about him, for fear some one of the great-hearted Phaiakians, meeting him, might speak to him in a sneering way and ask where he came from. But when he was about to enter the lovely city, there the gray-eyed goddess Athene met him, in the likeness of a young girl, a little maid, carrying a pitcher […]. (7.14-20)
Oh, no, that man-shaped cloud of mist isn't suspicious at all. Totally normal.
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!