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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Contrasted Lots of Scribe and Fellâh
Egyptian Literature
 
        
Translation of Francis Llewellyn Griffith
  
  [The following is a sample of the warnings to young men to stick to the business of the scribe and not be led away by the charms of out-door life, always so dear to the Egyptian.—Date XIXth Dynasty, or earlier.]

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 fellâh, 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 fellâh! What remains on the threshing-floor, robbers finish it up. The bronze … are worn out, the horses [oxen?] die with threshing and plowing. Then the scribe moors at the bank who is to take over the harvest; 1 the attendants 2 bear staves, the negroes carry palm-sticks. They say, “Give corn!” But there is none. They beat [the fellâh] 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
 
Note 1. That is, for the government. [back]
Note 2. Lit., doorkeepers—i.e., of the official cabin. [back]
 
 
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