We Have Roots
[This is my first post to The Egyptian (hopefully won’t be my last). I posted it in my blog, but then it seemed well fitting to the name of this blog, that I thought of sharing it here. But , I guess I’ll have to write a more appropriate first post sometime soon; something which will require more effort than repeatedly clicking ALT+C, ALT+V…Till then cheers — Tomanbay]
I linked to the story of the Eloquent Peasant in the last post. It seems that it is very telling of Egyptian nature. To an uncanny degree.
Here the peasant is trying to implore some Chief to help him get back his stolen donkeys:
Chief steward, my lord, you are greatest of the great, you are guide of all that which is not and which is. When you embark on the sea of truth, that you may go sailing upon it, then shall not the………strip away your sail, then your ship shall not remain fast, then shall no misfortune happen to your mast then shall your spars not be broken, then shall you not be stranded—if you run fast aground, the waves shall not break upon you, then you shall not taste the impurities of the river, then you shall not behold the face of fear, the shy fish shall come to you, and you shall capture the fat birds. For you are the father of the orphan, the husband of the widow, the brother of the desolate, the garment of the motherless. Let me place your name in this land higher than all good laws: you guide without avarice, you great one free from meanness, who destroys deceit, who creates truthfulness. Throw the evil to the ground. I will speak hear me. Do justice, O you praised one, whom the praised ones praise. Remove my oppression: behold, I have a heavy weight to carry; behold, I am troubled of soul; examine me, I am in sorrow.
Classic ass-kissing, huh?
Impressed by his eloquence, officials keep passing the man around (typical). On his eighth encounter with an official, the man snaps out, and gives this very impressive speech, which, in a typical Egyptian fashion, is said in desperation, rather than defiance or courage:
Chief steward, my lord, man falls on account of………… Greed is absent from a good merchant. His good commerce is……… Your heart is greedy, it does not become you. You despoil: this is not praiseworthy for you………Your daily rations are in your house; your body is well filled. The officers, who are set as a protection against injustice,—a curse to the shameless are these officers, who are set as a bulwark against lies. Fear of you has not deterred me from supplicating you; if you think so, you have not known my heart. The Silent one, who turns to report to you his difficulties, is not afraid to present them to you. Your real estate is in the country, your bread is on your estate, your food is in the storehouse. Your officials give to you and you take it. Are you, then, not a robber? They plow for you……… for you to the plots of arable land. Do the truth for the sake of the Lord of Truth.You reed of a scribe, you roll of a book, you palette, you god Thoth, you ought to keep yourself far removed from injustice. You virtuous one, you should be virtuous, you virtuous one, you should be really virtuous. Further, truth is true to eternity. She goes with those who perform her to the region of the dead. He will be laid in the coffin and committed to the earth; —his name will not perish from the earth, but men will remember him on account of his property: so runs the right interpretation of the divine word.
“Does it then happen that the scales stand aslant? Or is it thinkable that the scales incline to one side? Behold, if I come not, if another comes, then you host opportunity to speak as one who answers, as one who addresses the silent, as one who responds to him who has not spoken to you. You have not been………; You have not been sick. You have not fled, you have not departed. But you have not yet granted me any reply to this beautiful word which comes from the mouth of the sun-god himself: >Speak the truth; do the truth: for it is great, it is mighty, it is everlasting. It will obtain for you merit, and will lead you to veneration.’ For does the scale stand aslant? It is their scale-pans that bear the objects, and in just scales there is no………….. wanting
At that point, I think the Chief either felt guilty, or something in the peasant words touched him in a deep way, so he acted to get back the peasant’s goods.
To which the peasant replied:
I live because I eat of your bread and drink your beer forever.
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