Egypt: The Two Brothers: Part Four

This story is part of the Ancient Egypt unit. Story source: Egyptian Myth and Legend by Donald Mackenzie (1907).

The Two Brothers: Part Four

A new day dawned, and the land grew bright. Bata was a bull, and Anpu sat upon his back, and they drew nigh to the royal dwelling. The king was made glad, and he said: "This is indeed a miracle." There was much rejoicing throughout the land. Silver and gold were given to the elder brother, and he went away to his own home and waited there.

In time the sacred bull stood in a holy place, and the beautiful girl wife was there. Bata spoke unto her, saying: "Look thou upon me where I stand, for, lo! I am still alive."

Then said the woman: "And who art thou?"

The bull made answer: "Verily, I am Bata. It was thou who didst cause the acacia to be cut down; it was thou who didst reveal unto Pharaoh that my soul had dwelling in the highest blossom so that it might be destroyed and I might cease to be. But, lo! I live on, and I am become a sacred bull."

The woman trembled; fear possessed her heart when Bata spoke unto her in this manner. She at once went out of the holy place.

It chanced that the king sat by her side at the feast and made merry, for he loved her dearly. She spoke, saying: "Promise before the god that thou wilt do what I ask of thee."

His Majesty took a vow to grant her the wish of her heart, and she said: "It is my desire to eat of the liver of the sacred bull, for he is naught to thee."

Sorrowful was the king then, and his heart was troubled, because of the words which she spake. . . .

A new day dawned, and the land grew bright. Then the king commanded that the bull should be offered in sacrifice.

One of the king's chief servants went out, and when the bull was held high upon the shoulders of the people he smote its neck and it cast two drops of blood towards the gate of the palace, and one drop fell upon the right side and one upon the left. There grew up in the night two stately Persea trees from where the drops of blood fell down.

This great miracle was told unto the king, and the people rejoiced and made offerings of water and fruit to the sacred trees.

A day came when his majesty rode forth in his golden chariot. He wore his collar of lapis lazuli, and round his neck was a garland of flowers.

The girl wife was with him, and he caused her to stand below one of the trees, and it whispered unto her: "Thou false woman, I am still alive. Lo! I am even Bata, whom thou didst wrong. It was thou who didst cause the acacia to be cut down. It was thou who didst cause the sacred bull to be slain so that I might cease to be."

Many days went past, and the woman sat with the king at the feast, and he loved her dearly. She spake, saying: "Promise now before the god that thou wilt do what I ask of thee."

His Majesty made a vow of promise, and she said: "It is my desire that the Persea trees be cut down so that two fair seats may be made of them."

As she desired, so was it done. The king commanded that the trees should be cut down by skilled workmen, and the fair woman went out to watch them. As she stood there, a small chip of wood entered her mouth, and she swallowed it.

After many days a son was born to her, and he was brought before the king, and one said: "Unto thee a son is given." A nurse and servants were appointed to watch over the babe. There was great rejoicing throughout the land when the time came to name the girl wife's son. The king made merry, and from that hour he loved the child, and he appointed him Prince of Ethiopia.

Many days went past, and then the king chose him to be heir to the kingdom. In time His Majesty fulfilled his years, and he died, and his soul flew to the heavens.

The new king (Bata) then said: "Summon before me the great men of my Court so that I may now reveal unto them all that hath befallen me and the truth concerning the queen."

His wife was then brought before him. He revealed himself unto her, and she was judged before the great men, and they confirmed the sentence.

Then Anpu was summoned before His Majesty, and he was chosen to be the royal heir.

When Bata had reigned for thirty years, he came to his death, and on the day of his burial his elder brother stood in his place.

(800 words)

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