Nonfiction > Upton Sinclair, ed. > The Cry for Justice

Upton Sinclair, ed. (1878–1968).
The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest.  1915.
The Lawyer and the Farmer

From the Egyptian

(Egyptian; B.C. 1400, or earlier. A letter from a father to his son, exhorting him to stick to the study of his profession)
IT is told to me that thou hast cast aside learning, and givest thyself to dancing; thou turnest thy face to the work in the fields, and castest the divine words behind thee.  1
  Behold, thou rememberest not the condition of the fellah (farmer) when the harvest is taken over. The worms carry off half the corn, and the hippopotamus devours the rest; mice abound in the fields, and locusts arrive; the cattle devour, the sparrows steal. How miserable is the lot of the fellah! What remains on the threshing-floor, robbers finish it up. The bronze … are worn out, the horses die with threshing and plowing. Then the scribe (lawyer) moors at the bank, who is to take over the harvest for the government; the attendants bear staves, the negroes carry palm sticks. They say, “Give corn!” But there is none. They beat the fellah prostrate; they bind him and cast him into the canal, throwing him headlong. His wife is bound before him, his children are swung off; his neighbors let them go, and flee to look after their corn.  2
  But the scribe is the leader of labor for all; he reckons to himself the produce in winter, and there is none that appoints him his tale of produce. Behold, now thou knowest!  3

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