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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Story of Sanehat
Egyptian Literature
 
        
Translation of Francis Llewellyn Griffith
  
  [The story of Sanehat is practically complete. A papyrus at Berlin contains all the text except about twenty lines at the beginning, the whole being written in about three hundred and thirty short lines. Scraps of the missing portion were found in the collection of Lord Amherst of Hackney; and these, added to a complete but very corrupt text of about the first fifty lines, enable one to restore the whole with tolerable certainty. The story was written about the time of the XIIth or XIIIth Dynasty, but was known at a much later period: one extract from the beginning of the tale and one from the end have been found written in ink on limestone flakes or “ostraca” of about the XXth Dynasty (about 1150 B.C.). It seems to be a straightforward relation of actual occurrences, a real piece of biography. At any rate, it is most instructive as showing the kind of intercourse that was possible between Egypt and Palestine about 2500 B.C.]

THE HEREDITARY prince, royal seal-bearer, trusty companion, judge, keeper of the gate of the foreigners, true and beloved royal acquaintance, the attendant Sanehat says:—  1
  I attended my lord as a servant of the king, of the household of the hereditary princess, the greatly favored, the royal wife, Ankhet-Usertesen [?], holding a place at Kanefer, the pyramid of King Amenemhat. 1  2
  In the thirtieth year, the month Paophi, the seventh day, the god 2 entered his horizon, the King Sehetepabra flew up to heaven; he joined the sun’s disk, he attended the god, he joined his Maker. The Residence 3 was silenced, the hearts were weakened, the Great Portals were closed, the courtiers crouching on the ground, the people in hushed mourning.  3
  Now his Majesty had sent a great army with the nobles to the land of the Temehu, 4 his son and heir as their commander, the good King Usertesen. 5 And now he was returning, and had brought away captives and all kinds of cattle without end. The Companions of the Court sent to the West Side 6 to let the king know the state of affairs that had come about in the Audience Chamber. 7 The messenger found him on the road; he reached him at the time of evening. “It was a time for him to hasten greatly [was the message]: Let the Hawk 8 fly [hither] with his attendants, without allowing the army to know of it.” And when the royal sons who commanded in that army sent messages, not one of them was summoned to audience. Behold, I was standing [near]; I heard his voice while he was speaking. 9 I fled far away, my heart beating, my arms outspread; trembling had fallen on all my limbs. I ran hither and thither 10 to seek a place to hide me, I threw myself amongst the bushes: and when I found a road that went forward, I set out southward, not indeed thinking to come to this Residence. 11 I expected that there would be disturbance. I spake not of life after it. 12 I wandered across my estate 13 [?] in the neighborhood of Nehat; I reached the island [or lake] of Seneferu, and spent the day [resting?] on the open field. I started again while it was yet day, 14 and came to a man standing at the side of the road. He asked of me mercy, for he feared me. By supper-time I drew near to the town of Negau. I crossed the river on a raft without a rudder, by the aid of a west wind, and landed at the quay [?] of the quarrymen of the Mistress at the Red Mountain. 15 Then I fled on foot northward, and reached the Walls of the Ruler, built to repel the Sati. 16 I crouched in a bush for fear, seeing the day-patrol at its duty on the top of the fortress. At nightfall I set forth, and at dawn reached Peten, and skirted the lake of Kemur. 17 Then thirst hasted me on; I was parched, my throat was stopped, and I said, “This is the taste of death.” When I lifted up my heart and gathered strength, I heard a voice and the lowing of cattle. I saw men of the Sati; and an alien amongst them—he who is [now?] in Egypt 18—recognized me. Behold, he gave me water, and boiled me milk, and I went with him to his camp,—may a blessing be their portion! One tribe passed me on to another: I departed to Sun [?], and came to Kedem. 19  4
  There I spent a year and a month [?]. But Ammui-nen-sha, Ruler of the Upper Tenu, 20 took me and said to me:—“Comfort thyself with me, that thou mayest hear the speech of Egypt.” He said thus, for that he knew my character, and had heard of my worth; for men of Egypt who were there with him bore witness of me. Then he said to me:—“For what hast thou come hither? what is it? Hath a matter come to pass in the Residence? The King of the Two Lands, Sehetepabra, hath gone to heaven, and one knoweth not what may have happened thereon.” But I answered with concealment and said:—“I returned with an expedition from the land of the Temehu; my desire was redoubled, my heart leaped, there was no satisfaction within me. This drove me to the ways of a fugitive. I have not failed in my duty, my mouth hath not uttered any bitter words, I have not hearkened to any evil plot, my name hath not been heard in the mouth of the informer. I know not what hath brought me into this country.” [And the Ruler Ammui-nen-sha said:] 21 “This is like the disposition of God. And now what is that land like if it know not that excellent god, 22 of whom the dread was over the nations like Sekhemt 23 in a year of pestilence?” I spake [thus] to him, and replied to him:—“Nay, but his son hath entered the palace, and taken the heritage of his father, and he is a god without an equal, nor was there any other before him [like unto him]. He is a master of wisdom, prudent in his designs, excellent in his decrees; coming out and going in is at his command. It was he that curbed the nations while his father remained within the palace, and he reported the execution of that which was laid upon him [to perform]. He is a mighty man also, working with his strong arm; a valiant one, who hath not his equal. See him when he springeth upon the barbarians, and throweth himself on the spoilers; he breaketh the horns and weakeneth the hands; his enemies cannot wield their weapons. He is fearless and dasheth heads to pieces; none can stand before him. He is swift of going, to destroy him who fleeth; and none turning his back to him reacheth his home. He is sturdy of heart in the moment [of stress]; he is a lion that striketh with the claw; never hath he turned his back. He is stout of heart when he seeth multitudes, he letteth none repose beyond what his desire would spare. He is bold of face when he seeth hesitation: his joy is to fall on the barbarians. He seizeth the buckler, and leapeth forward; he repeateth not his stroke, he slayeth, and none can turn his lance; without his bow being drawn the barbarians flee from his arms like dogs; for the great goddess hath granted him to war against those who know not his name; he is thorough, he spareth not and leaveth naught behind. He is full of grace and sweetness, a love-winner; his city loveth him more than itself, it rejoiceth in him more than in its own god; men and women go their ways, calling their children by his name. For he is a king that took the kingdom while he was in the egg, and ruled from his birth. He is a multiplier of offspring. And he is One Alone, the essence of God; this land rejoiceth in his government. He is one that enlargeth his borders; he will take the lands of the South, but he will not design to hold the countries of the North: yet he prepareth to smite the Sati, to crush the Wanderers of the Sand. When he cometh here, let him know thy name; dispute not, but go over to his command: 24 for he will not fail to treat well the country that floateth with his stream.”  5
  Said he, agreeing to me:—“Verily, Egypt is excellent in its stream 25 beyond anything, and it flourisheth; behold, as long as thou art with me I will do good unto thee.” He placed me at the head of his children, he married me with his eldest daughter. He allowed me to choose for myself from his land, and from the choicest of what he possessed on the border of the next land. It was a goodly land; Iaa 26 is its name. Therein were figs and grapes; its wine was more plentiful than water; abundant was its honey, many were its oil-trees, and all fruits were upon its trees; there too was barley and spelt, and cattle of all kinds without end. Great honors also were granted to me, flowing from his love to me; he set me as sheikh of a tribe in a choice portion of his country. There were made for me rations of bread, wine from day to day, cooked meat and roasted fowl, besides wild game snared for me or brought to me, as well as what my hunting dogs caught. They made me many dainties, and milk food cooked in all manner of ways. Thus I passed many years; my children became valiant men, each one the conqueror of a tribe. When a messenger came north or went south to the Residence, 27 he tarried with me; for I gave all men gifts; I gave water to the thirsty, I set the strayed wanderer on his road, and I rescued those who were carried off captive. The Sati who went to war or to repel the kings of the nations, I commanded their expeditions; for this Ruler of the Tenu made me to spend many years as captain of his army. Every land to which I turned I overcame. I destroyed its green fields and its wells, I captured its cattle, I took captive its inhabitants, I deprived them of their provisions, and I slew much people of them by my sword, my bow, my marchings, and my good devices. Thus my excellence was in his heart; he loved me and he knew my valor; until he set me at the head of his sons, when he saw the success of my handiwork.  6
  There came a champion of the Tenu to defy me in my tent; a bold man without equal, for he had vanquished all his rivals. He said, “Let Sanehat fight with me.” He thought to overcome me; he designed to take my cattle, being thus counseled by his tribe. This ruler [Ammui-nen-sha] conferred with me. I said:—“I know him not. I assuredly am no associate of his; I hold me far from his place. Have I ever opened his door, or leaped over his fence? It is perverseness of heart from seeing me doing his work. Forsooth, I am as it were a stranger bull among the cows, which the bull of the herd charges, and the strong bull catches! But shall a wretched beggar desire to attain to my fortune? A common soldier cannot take part as a counselor. Then what pray shall establish the assembly? 28 But is there a bull that loveth battle, a courageous bull that loveth to repeat the charge in terrifying him whose strength he hath measured? If he hath stomach to fight, let him speak what he pleaseth. Will God forget what is ordained for him? How shall fate be known?” The night long I strung my bow, I made ready my arrows; I made keen my dagger, I furbished my arms. At daybreak the Tenu came together; it had gathered its tribes and collected the neighboring peoples. Its thoughts were on this combat; every bosom burned for me, men and women crying out; every heart was troubled for me; they said, “Is there yet another champion to fight with him?” Then [he took] his buckler, his battle-axe, and an armful of javelins. But thereon I avoided his weapons, and turned aside his arrows to the ground, useless. One drew near to the other and he rushed upon me. I shot at him and my arrow stuck in his neck; he cried out, and fell upon his nose: I brought down upon him his own battle-axe, and raised my shout of victory on his back. All the Asiatics roared, and I and his vassals whom he had oppressed gave thanks unto Mentu; this Ruler, Ammui-nen-sha, took me to his embrace. Then I took his goods, I seized his cattle. What he had thought to do to me, I did it unto him; I seized that which was in his tent, I spoiled his dwelling. I grew great thereby, I increased in my possessions. I abounded in cattle.  7
  “May 29 the god be disposed to pardon him in whom he had trusted, and who deserted to a foreign country. Now is his anger quenched. I who at one time fled away a fugitive, my guarantee is now in the Residence. Having wandered a starved wanderer, now I give bread to those around. Having left my land in rags, now I shine in fine linen. Having been a fugitive without followers, now I possess many serfs. My house is fair, my dwelling large, I am spoken of in the palace. All the gods destined me this flight. Mayest thou be gracious; may I be restored to the Residence; favor me that I may see the place in which my heart dwelleth. Behold how great a thing is it that my body should be embalmed in the land where I was born! Come; if afterwards there be good fortune, I will give an offering to God that he may work to make good the end of his suppliant, whose heart is heavy at long absence in a strange land. May he be gracious; may he hear the prayer of him who is afar off, that he may revisit the place of his birth, and the place from which he removed.  8
  “May the King of Egypt be gracious to me, by whose favor men live. I salute the mistress of the land, who is in his palace; may I hear the news of her children, and may my body renew its vigor thereby. But old age cometh, weakness hasteneth me on, the eyes are heavy, my arms are failing, my feet have ceased to follow the heart. Weariness of going on approacheth me; may they convey me to the cities of eternity. May I serve the mistress of all. 30 Oh that she may tell me the beauties of her children; may she bring eternity to me.”  9
  Now the Majesty of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Kheper-ka-ra, justified, spake concerning this condition in which I was. His Majesty sent unto me with presents from before the king, that he might make glad the heart of your servant, 31 as he would unto the Ruler of any country; and the royal sons who were in his palace caused me to hear their news.  10
 
Copy of the command which was brought to the humble servant to bring him back to Egypt.

  “THE HORUS, LIFE OF BIRTHS, LORD OF THE CROWNS, LIFE OF BIRTHS, KING OF UPPER AND LOWER EGYPT, KHEPER-KA-RA, SON OF THE SUN, USERTESEN 32 EVER LIVING UNTO ETERNITY. Royal Command for the attendant, Sanehat.
  11
 
  “Behold, this command of the king is sent to thee to give thee information: Whereas thou didst go round strange lands from Kedem 33 to Tenu, one country passed thee on to another as thy heart devised for thee. Behold, what thou hast done hath been done unto thee: Thou hast not blasphemed, so also the accusation against thee hath been repelled. So also thy sayings have been respected; thou hast not spoken against the Council of the Nobles. But this matter carried away thy heart; it was not [devised] in thy heart.  12
  “This thy Heaven 34 who is in the palace is stablished and flourishing even now: she herself shareth in the rule of the land, and her children are in the Audience Chamber. 35  13
  “Leave the riches that thou hast, and in the abundance of which thou livest. When thou comest to Egypt thou shalt visit the Residence in which thou wast, thou shalt kiss the ground before the Great Portals, thou shalt assume authority amongst the Companions. But day by day, behold, thou growest old; thy vigor is lost; thou thinkest on thy day of burial. Thou shalt be conducted to the blessed state; there shall be assigned to thee a night of sacred oils and wrappings from the hands of the goddess Tayt. There shall be held for thee a procession [behind thy statues] and a visit [to the temple] on the day of burial, the mummy case gilded, the head blue, the canopy above thee; the putting in the skin-frame, oxen to draw thee, singers going before thee, the answering chant, and mourners crouching at the door of thy tomb-chapel. Prayers for offerings shall be recited for thee, victims shall be slaughtered at the door portrayed upon thy tablet; 36 and thy mastaba shall be built of white stone, in the company of the royal children. Thou shalt not die in a strange land, nor be buried by the Amu; thou shalt not be put in a sheepskin, thou shalt be well regarded. It is vain [?] to beat the ground and think on troubles.  14
  “Thou hast reached the end.” 37  15
  When this order came to me, I stood in the midst of my tribe, and when it was read unto me, I threw me on my belly; I bowed to the ground and let the dust spread upon my breast. I strode around my tent rejoicing and saying:—“How is this done to the servant, whose heart had transgressed to a strange country of babbling tongue? But verily good is compassion, that I should be saved from death. Thy Ka 38 it is that will cause me to pass the end of my days in the Residence.”  16
 
Copy of the acknowledgment of this command.

  “The servant of the royal house [?], Sanehat, says:—
  17
  “In most excellent peace! Known is it to thy Ka that this flight of thy servant was made in innocence. Thou the Good God, Lord of both Lands, Beloved of Ra, Favored of Mentu, lord of Uast, and of Amen, lord of the Thrones of the Two Lands, of Sebek, Ra, Horus, Hathor, Atmu and his Ennead, of Sepdu, Neferbiu, Semsetu, Horus of the east, and of the Mistress of the Cave 39 who resteth on thy head, of the chief circle of the gods of the waters, Min, Horus of the desert, Urert mistress of Punt, Nut, Harur-Ra, all the gods of the land of Egypt and of the isles of the sea. 40 May they put life and strength to thy nostril, may they present thee with their gifts, may they give to thee eternity without end, everlastingness without bound. May the fear of thee be doubled in the lands and in the foreign countries, mayest thou subdue the circuit of the sun. This is the prayer of the servant for his master, who hath delivered him from Amenti. 41  18
  “The possessor of understanding understandeth the higher order of men, and the servant recognizeth the majesty of Pharaoh. But thy servant feareth to speak it: it is a weighty matter to tell of. The great God, like unto Ra, knoweth well the work which he himself hath wrought. Who is thy servant that he should be considered, that words should be spent upon him? Thy majesty is as Horus, and the strength of thy arms extendeth to all lands.  19
  “Then let his Majesty command that there be brought to him Meki of Kedem, Khentiu-aaush of Khent-keshu, and Menus of the Two Lands of the Fenkhu; these are chiefs as hostages that the Tenu act according to the desire of thy Ka, and that Tenu will not covet what belongeth to thee in it, like thy dogs. 42 Behold this flight that thy servant made: I did not desire it, it was not in my heart; I do not boast of it; I know not what took me away from my place; it was like the leading of a dream, as a man of Adhu sees himself in Abu, 43 as a man of the Corn-land sees himself in the Land of Gardens. 44 There was no fear, none was hastening in pursuit of me; I did not listen to an evil plot, my name was not heard in the mouth of the informer; but my limbs went, my feet wandered, my heart drew me; a god ordained this flight, and led me on. But I am not stiff-necked; a man feareth if he knoweth [?], for Ra hath spread thy fear over the land, thy terrors in every foreign country. Behold me in thy palace or behold me in this place, 45 still thou art he who doth clothe this horizon. The sun riseth at thy pleasure, the water in the rivers is drunk at thy will, the wind in heaven is breathed at thy saying.  20
  “Thy servant will leave to a successor the viziership which thy servant hath held in this land. And when thy servant shall arrive 46 let thy Majesty do as pleaseth him, for one liveth by the breath that thou givest. O thou who art beloved of Ra, of Horus, and of Hathor! It is thy august nostril that Mentu, lord of Uast, desireth should live for ever.”  21
 
  It was granted that I should spend a day in Iaa, 47 to pass over my goods to my children, my eldest son leading my tribe, and all my goods in his hand, my people and all my cattle, my fruit, and all my pleasant trees. When thy humble servant 48 journeyed to the south, and arrived at the Roads of Horus, the officer who was over the frontier-patrol sent a report to the Residence to give notice. His Majesty sent the good overseer of the peasants of the king’s domains, and ships with him laden with presents from the king for the Sati who had come with me to convey me to the Roads of Horus. I spoke to each one by his name, each officer according to his rank. I received and I returned the salutation, and I continued thus 49 until I reached Athtu. 50  22
  When the land was lightened, and the second day came, 51 there came some to summon me, four men in coming, four men in going, 52 to carry [?] me to the palace. I alighted on the ground between the gates of reception [?]; the royal children stood at the platform to greet [?] me; the Companions and those who ushered to the hall brought me on the way to the royal chamber.  23
  I found his Majesty on the great throne on a platform of pale gold. Then I threw myself on my belly; this god, in whose presence I was, knew me not while he questioned me graciously; but I was as one caught in the night; my spirit fainted, my limbs shook, my heart was no longer in my bosom, and I knew the difference between life and death. His Majesty said to one of the Companions, “Lift him up; let him speak to me.” And his Majesty said:—“Behold, thou hast come; thou hast trodden the deserts; thou hast played the wanderer. Decay falleth on thee, old age hath reached thee; it is no small thing that thy body should be embalmed, that thou shalt not be buried by foreign soldiers. 53 Do not, do not, be silent and speechless; tell thy name; is it fear that preventeth thee?” I answered with the answer of one terrified, “What is it that my lord hath said? O that I might answer it! It was not my act: it was the hand of God; it was a terror that was in my body, as it were causing a flight that had been foreordained. Behold I am before thee, thou art life; let thy Majesty do what pleaseth him.”  24
  The royal children were brought in, and his Majesty said to the queen, “Behold thou, Sanehat hath come as an Amu, whom the Sati have produced.”  25
  She shrieked aloud, and the royal children joined in one cry, and said before his Majesty, “Verily it is not he, O king, my lord.” Said his Majesty, “It is verily he.” Then they brought their tinkling bead-strings, their wands, and their sistra in their hands, and waved them 54 before his Majesty [and they sang]:—
  “May thy hands prosper, O King;
May the graces of the Lady of Heaven continue.
May the goddess Nub 55 give life to thy nostril;
May the mistress of the stars favor thee, that which is north of her going south and that which is south of her going north.
All wisdom is in the mouth of thy Majesty;
The staff [?] is put upon thy forehead, driving away from thee the beggarly [?]
Thou art pacified, O Ra, lord of the lands;
They call on thee as on the Mistress of all.
Strong is thy horn; let fall thine arrow.
Grant the breath of life to him who is without it;
Grant thy favor to this alien Samehit, 56 the foreign soldier born in the land of Egypt,
Who fled away from fear of thee,
And left the land from thy terrors,
The face shall not grow pale, of him who beholdeth thy countenance;
The eye shall not fear which looketh upon thee.”
  26
  Said his Majesty:—“He shall not fear; let him be freed from terror. He shall be a Companion amongst the nobles; he shall be put within the circle of the courtiers. Go ye to the chamber of praise to seek wealth for him.”  27
  When I went out from the Audience Chamber, the royal children offered their hands to me; and we walked afterwards to the Great Portals. I was placed in a house of a king’s son, in which were fine things; there was a cool bower therein, fruits of the granary, treasures of the White House, 57 clothes of the king’s guard-robe, frankincense, the finest perfumes of the king and the nobles whom he loves, in every chamber; and every kind of servitor in his proper office. Years were removed from my limbs: I was shaved, and my locks of hair were combed; the foulness was cast to the desert, with the garments of the Nemausha. 58 I clothed me in fine linen, and anointed myself with the best oil; I laid me on a bed. I gave up the sand to those who lie on it; the oil of wood to him who would anoint himself therewith.  28
  There was given to me the house of Neb-mer [?], which had belonged to a Companion. There were many craftsmen building it; all its woodwork was strengthened anew. Portions were brought to me from the palace thrice and four times a day, besides the gifts of the royal children; there was not a moment’s ceasing from them. There was built for me a pyramid of stone amongst the pyramids. The overseer of the architects measured its ground; the chief treasurer drew it; the sacred masons did the sculpture; the chief of the laborers in the necropolis brought the bricks; and all the instruments applied to a tomb were there employed. There were given to me fields; there was made for me a necropolis garden, the land in it better than a farm estate; even as is done for the chief Companion. My statue was overlaid with gold, its girdle with pale gold; his Majesty caused it to be made. Such is not done to a man of low degree.  29
  Thus am I in the favor of the king until the day of death shall come.  30
  This is finished from beginning to end, as was found in the writing.  31
 
Note 1. This paragraph is very difficult to restore and very doubtful. [back]
Note 2. I.e., the King Sehetepabra Amenemhat I., whose death is recorded in the next clause. [back]
Note 3. The king’s city, and so throughout the story. [back]
Note 4. The land of the Temehu was in the Libyan desert on the west of Egypt. [back]
Note 5. Usertesen I., the son and heir of Amenemhat I., reigned ten years jointly with his father. [back]
Note 6. I.e., the western edge of Lower Egypt. [back]
Note 7. Perhaps this refers to the death of the king, or to the deliberations of the royal councilors. [back]
Note 8. Apparently a term for the king. [back]
Note 9. Sanehat, accidentally hearing the news of the old king’s death, which was kept secret even from the members of the royal family, was overcome with agitation and fled. [back]
Note 10. It was of course night-time. [back]
Note 11. The Royal Residence called Athet-taui lay on the boundary of Upper and Lower Egypt, between Memphis and the entrance to the Faiyûm, and so in the direction which Sanehat at first took in his flight from the western edge of the Delta. One might prefer the word Capital to Residence, but it can hardly be doubted that Thebes and Memphis were then the real capitals of Egypt. [back]
Note 12. Perhaps the meaning is that Sanehat did not imagine life possible “after the king’s death,” or it may be “outside the Residence.” The pronoun for “it” is masculine, and may refer either to the palace or to the king. [back]
Note 13. Or possibly “I turned my course,” turning now northward. [back]
Note 14. Or possibly “the next day.” [back]
Note 15. Here the MS. is injured, and some of the words are doubtful. The quarries are those still worked for hard quartzite at Jebel Ahmar (Red Mountain), northeast of Cairo. The positions of most of the places mentioned in the narrative are uncertain. Doubtless Sanehat crossed the Nile just above the fork of the Delta and landed in the neighborhood of the quarries. The “Mistress” (Heryt), must be a goddess, or the queen. [back]
Note 16. Asiatics and Bedawin. [back]
Note 17. Kemur was one of the Bitter Lakes in the line of the present Suez Canal. [back]
Note 18. Possibly one of the three persons proposed as hostages to Egypt below. The word translated “alien” is uncertain. It may mean a kind of consul or mediator between the tribes for the purposes of trade, etc., or simply a “sheikh.” Sanehat himself, returned from Egypt in his old age, is called by the same title. [back]
Note 19. Or possibly Adim, i.e., Edom; and so throughout. [back]
Note 20. Later called Upper Retenu: they were the inhabitants of the high lands of Palestine. Ammi was a divine name in Ancient Arabia, and the name Ammi-anshi, found in South-Arabian inscriptions, perhaps of 1000 B.C., is almost identical with that of the king who befriended Sanehat. [back]
Note 21. These words appear to have been omitted by the scribe. [back]
Note 22. I.e., What does Egypt do without the king? [back]
Note 23. The goddess of destruction. [back]
Note 24. Lit., “stick.” [back]
Note 25. A metaphor for the “policy,” “will,” of a king or god. [back]
Note 26. Meaning “reeds” (?). [back]
Note 27. I.e., of Pharaoh. [back]
Note 28. A difficult passage. [back]
Note 29. Without any pause or introduction Sanehat begins to quote from his petition to the King of Egypt. It is difficult to say whether this arrangement is due to an oversight of the scribe, or is intended to heighten the picturesqueness of the narrative by sudden contrast. The formal introduction might well be omitted as uninteresting. The end of the document with the salutations is preserved. [back]
Note 30. A phrase for the queen. [back]
Note 31. The narrator. [back]
Note 32. The scribe has written Amenemhat by mistake for Usertesen. [back]
Note 33. Or Adim. [back]
Note 34. The queen, his exalted mistress. [back]
Note 35. Taking part in the councils of the king and in the administration of the kingdom. [back]
Note 36. This seems to refer to the so-called false door, representing the entrance to the underworld. All that precedes refers to burial with great ceremony. [back]
Note 37. I.e., of the king’s command. The absence of any concluding salutation is noticeable. [back]
Note 38. The Ka or “double” was one of the spiritual constituents of man; but “thy Ka” is merely a mode of address to the exalted Pharaoh. [back]
Note 39. I.e., the uræus or cobra. [back]
Note 40. In this long array of gods, Mentu and Amen rank next to Ra. They were both worshiped at Thebes, which was then probably capital of the whole country. It certainly was so in the next dynasty, during which this tale was presumably written down. It is curious that Ptah the god of Memphis does not appear. [back]
Note 41. The place of the dead. [back]
Note 42. As dogs do the bidding of their master and spare his property. [back]
Note 43. As a man of Natho (the marshes in the north of the Delta) dreams that he is at Elephantine (the rocky southern frontier). [back]
Note 44. The second is the name of the southernmost nome of Egypt, that of Elephantine, which has practically no corn-land. It was probably made fruitful by artificial irrigation, with culture of plants, trees, and vines. [back]
Note 45. So the MS., and it conveys a fair meaning; but perhaps the original ran, “Behold, thou art in the palace and I am in this place yet,” etc. [back]
Note 46. Or, “Now thy servant hath finished.” [back]
Note 47. Sanehat’s own territory. [back]
Note 48. A frequent phrase for the writer or narrator, especially common in letters. [back]
Note 49. “Nodding and touching my forehead” is perhaps the real translation of some difficult words here paraphrased. [back]
Note 50. Probably the Residence; more commonly called Athet-taui, but here abbreviated in name. [back]
Note 51. Or perhaps “very early.” [back]
Note 52. This probably means “four men behind me and the same number in front,” either conducting Sanehat or more probably carrying him in a litter. [back]
Note 53. Instead of Egyptian priests. [back]
Note 54. These instruments rattled or clattered as they were waved or beaten together. [back]
Note 55. A form of Hathor. [back]
Note 56. Samehit, “son of the north,” is a play on the name Sanehat, “son of the sycamore.” [back]
Note 57. The treasury containing silver, gold, clothing, wine, and valuables of all kinds. [back]
Note 58. Meaning “wanderers on the Sand,” Bedawin. [back]
 
 
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