Truth and  Falsehood
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Tales & Magic

The papyrus dates from the Nineteenth Dynasty. The tale occupies the eleven pages of the recto, and four pages of the verso. The beginning is lost, and the first four pages have numerous lacunae.
The lost beginning may be summarized as follows: Truth and Falsehood are brothers. Falsehood, the younger brother, has denounced Truth to the Ennead. He claims that he had lent to Truth a wondrous dagger of extraordinary size, and Truth had failed to return it to him. He proceeds to describe the dagger:

 

The Blinding of Truth by Falsehood

 

... / [and]... went ...[the Ennead...:... [a copper dagger of which the Mountain of E[l forms the blade, of which the woods of Coptos form the haft], of which the / god's tomb forms the scabbard, and of which the herds of Kal form the belt. Falsehood said to the Ennead: Let [Truth [be brought] and blinded <in> both his eyes and be assigned to be doorkeeper of my house. The Ennead then acquiesced to all that he said.

 

After many days following this, Falsehood raised his eyes to have a look, and he observed / the exemplariness of Truth, his elder brother. Falsehood said to Truth's tow servants: Please abduct] your lord and [cast] him [to] a dangerous lion that has many lionesses as mate's, and they shall [devour him. Then they] abducted him. Now as they were going up carrying him, Truth [told his servant's: Don't abduct [me and] put / [another in my place... One of you go to town] and find a bit of bread for me...[So the servant] went that he might tell Falsehood: When [we] cast [him to the lion].... [And he] went out from the [house], and he called him in the....

 

Now [after many days] following this, (the lady) N. / went out [from] her house [with her following], clad ...., [and they saw him [lying under the covert and (saw) [that he was so handsome] that there was none like [him in the] entire land. Then [they] went [to where] (they lady) N. was and [said: Come [along with] us that [you may see / [the blind man] lying under the covert, and he shall be brought and assigned to be doorkeeper of our house.

 

(The lady) N. said <to> her. You shall go to (fetch) him that I may see him. And she went and fetched him. [Then] (the lady) N. saw him, and she desired him exceedingly when she saw [how handsome] he was in all his body. So he went to bed with her in the night, and he had sexual intercourse with her. / So she became pregnant that night with a baby boy.

 

Now after many days following this, she gave birth to a son whose like did not exist in this entire land, [for he was] larger in...[then] a... being [in] the nature [of] a young god. And he was sent to / school and mastered writing very well, and he practiced all the arts of war so that he (even) surpassed his older (schoolmates who were at school with him. his (schoolmates said to him: whose son are you? You don't have a father.

 

And they would revile him and mock him: Truly, you don't have a father. The / boy said to his mother. What is my father's name that <I> may tell it to my (schoolmates? Truly, if they converse with me. "Where is your father?" they (always) say to me, and they mock me. His mother said to him: Do you see that blind man who is seated next to the door? That is your father. / So she said telling him. Then he said to her: The members of your family ought to be gathered together and be made to summon a crocodile?

 

And so they boy brought his father and had him sit down with an armchair supporting him, and he put a footstool under his feet. And he placed food before him and let him eat and / drink. They boy said to his father: Who is it that blinded you so that <I> may avenge you? And he told him: It was my younger brother who blinded me. And he told him all that had happened to him. So he set out <to> where Falsehood's herdsman was. He said to him: Please take for yourself these ten loaves as well as the staff, this / water skin, this sword, and this pair of sandals, and tend this ox for me until I return from town.

 

After many days following this, his ox had completed many months in the charge of Falsehood's herdsman. Then Falsehood / went off to the fields to inspect his cattle, and he saw that that ox belonging to the boy was exceedingly beautiful in appearance. he said to his herdsman: Give me that ox that <I> may eat it. But the herdsman told him: It isn't mine, so I won't be able to give it to you. Falsehood said to him: See, all my cattle are at your disposition. Give one of them to its owner.

 

The boy learned / that Falsehood had appropriated his ox, and he came to where Falsehood's herdsman was and said to him: Where is my ox? I can't see it among your cattle. Said the herdsman to him: All the cattle are at your disposition. Take / for yourself the one you want. Then the boy said to him: Is there an ox as large as my own ox? If it should stand on The Island of Amon, the tip of its tail would be lying <upon> the Papyrus Marches, while one of its horns would be on the Western Mountain and the other on the Eastern Mountain, and the Great River would be its spot for lying down, and sixty calves would be born to it / daily.

 

The herdsman said to him: Is there an ox as large as the one you have (just) mentioned? So the boy seized hold of him and took him off <to> where Falsehood was. And he took / Falsehood to the tribunal before the Ennead. <They> said to the boy: [What you have said] is false. We have never seen an ox as large as the one you've mentioned. [Said] the boy [to the Ennead: Is there a copper dagger as large as the one you did mention, of which the Mountain of El forms the blade, of which the woods of Coptos form the haft, of which the god's tomb forms the scabbard, and of which the herds of Kal form the belt?

 

/ [He] told the Ennead: Judge between Truth and Falsehood. I am his (i.e. Truth's) son. It is in order to avenge him that I have come. Then Falsehood took an oath by the Lord, l.p.h., saying: By [Amon] and by the Ruler, l.p.h., if Truth be found alive, I shall be blinded <in> both my eyes and be assigned [to be doorkeeper in the [house of Truth]. Then / the boy [had his father brought to the tribunal before the Ennead], and it was verified that he was (still) alive. So [severe punishment] was inflicted [upon Falsehood]. He [was] smitten with a hundred blows and five open wounds, blinded <in> [both his eyes, and assigned to be doorkeeper in the house of Truth, And he...

 

[And so] the boy avenged his father so that (the dispute between) Truth and Falsehood was settled / ... the

 

[Thus it] concludes [happily and successfully].

 
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