The wise servant said, "Let thy heart be satisfied, O my lord, for that
we have come back to the country; after we have been long on board, and rowed
much, the prow has at last touched land. All the people rejoice and embrace us
one after another. Moreover, we have come back in good health, and not a man is
lacking; although we have been to the ends of Wawat [Nubia], and gone through
the land of Senmut [Kush], we have returned in peace, and our land---behold, we
have come back to it. Hear me, my lord; I have no other refuge. Wash thee, and
turn the water over thy fingers; then go and tell the tale to the majesty."
His lord replied, "Thy heart continues still its wandering
words! but although the mouth of a man may save him his words may also cover his
face with confusion. Will you do then as your heart moves you? This that you
will say, tell quietly."
The sailor then answered, "Now I shall tell that which has
happened to me, to my very self. I was going to the mines of Pharaoh, and I went
down on the sea in a ship of one hundred and fifty cubits long and forty cubits
wide, with one hundred and fifty sailors of the best of Egypt who had seen
heaven and earth, and whose hearts were stronger than lions. They had said that
the wind would not be contrary, or that there would be none. But as we
approached the land, the wind arose, and threw up waves eight cubits high. As
for me, I seized a piece of wood; but those who were in the vessel perished,
without one remaining. A wave threw me on an island, after that I had been three
days alone, without a companion beside my own heart. I laid me in a thicket, and
the shadow covered me. Then stretched I my limbs to try to find something for my
mouth. I found there figs and grain, melons of all kinds, fishes, and birds.
Nothing was lacking. And I satisfied myself; and left on the ground that which
was over, of what my arms had been filled withal. I dug a pit, I lighted a fire,
and I made a burnt offering unto the gods.
"Suddenly I heard a noise as of thunder, which I thought to
be that of a wave of the sea. The trees shook, and the earth was moved. I
uncovered my face, and I saw that a serpent drew near. He was thirty cubits
long, and his beard greater than two cubits; his body was as overlaid with gold,
and his color as that of true lazuli. He coiled himself before me. Then he
opened his mouth, while that I lay on my face before him, and he said to me,
'What has brought you, what has brought you, little one, what has brought you?
If you say not speedily what has brought you to this isle, I will make you know
yourself; as a flame you shall vanish, if you tell me not something I have not
heard, or which I knew not, before you.'
"Then he took me in his mouth and carried me to his
resting-place, and laid me down without any hurt. I was whole and sound, and
nothing was gone from me. Then he opened his mouth against me, while that I lay
on my face before him, and he said, 'What has brought you, what has brought you,
little one, what has brought you to this isle which is in the sea, and of which
the shores are in the midst of the waves?'
"Then I replied to him, and holding my arms low before him,
I said to him: 'I was embarked for the mines by the order of the majesty, in a
ship, one hundred and fifty cubits was its length, and the width of it forty
cubits. It had one hundred and fifty sailors of the best of Egypt, who had seen
heaven and earth, and the hearts of whom were stronger than lions. They said
that the wind would not be contrary, or that there would be none. Each of them
exceeded his companion in the prudence of his heart and the strength of his arm,
and I was not beneath any of them. A storm came upon us while we were on the
sea. Hardly could we reach to the shore when the wind waxed yet greater, and the
waves rose even eight cubits. As for me, I seized a piece of wood, while those
who were in the boat perished without one being left with me for three days.
Behold me now before you, for I was brought to this isle by a wave of the sea.'
"Then said he to me, 'Fear not, fear not, little
one, and make not your face sad. If you have come to me, it is God who has let
you live. For it is He who has brought you to this isle of the blest, where
nothing is lacking, and which is filled with all good things. See now, you shall
pass one month after another, until you shall be four months in this isle. Then
a ship shall come from your land with sailors, and you shall leave with them and
go to your country, and you shall die in your town.
Converse is pleasing, and he who tastes of it passes over his
misery. I will therefore tell you of that which is in this isle. I am here with
my brethren and my children around me; we are seventy-five serpents, children,
and kindred; without naming a young girl who was brought unto me by chance, and
on whom the fire of heaven fell, and burned her to ashes. As for you, if you are
strong, and if your heart waits patiently, you shall press your infants to your
bosom and embrace your wife. You shall return to your house which is full of all
good things, you shall see your land, where you shall dwell in the midst of your
"Then I bowed in my obeisance, and I touched the ground
before him. 'Behold now that which I have told you before. I shall tell of your
presence unto Pharaoh, I shall make him to know of your greatness, and I will
bring to you of the sacred oils and perfumes, and of incense of the temples with
which all gods are honored. I shall tell, moreover, of that which I do now see
(thanks to him), and there shall be rendered to you praises before the fullness
of all the land. I shall slay asses for you in sacrifice, I shall pluck for you
the birds, and I shall bring for you ships full of all kinds of the treasures of
Egypt, as is comely to do unto a god, a friend of men in a far country, of which
men know not.'
"Then he smiled at my speech, because of that
which was in his heart, for he said to me: 'You are not rich in perfumes, for
all that you have is but common incense. As for me, I am prince of the land of
Punt, and I have perfumes. Only the oil which you say you would bring is not
common in this isle. But, when you shall depart from this place, you shall never
more see this isle; it shall be changed into waves.'
"And behold, when the ship drew near, according to
all that he had told me before, I got up into an high tree, to strive to see
those who were within it. Then I came and told to him this matter, but it was
already known unto him before. Then he said to me: 'Farewell, farewell, go to
your house, little one, see again your children, and let your name be good in
your town; these are my wishes for you.'
"Then I bowed myself before him, and held my arms
low before him, and he, he gave me gifts of precious perfumes, of cassia, of
sweet woods, of kohl, of cypress, an abundance of incense, of ivory tusks, of
baboons, of apes, and all kinds of precious things. I embarked all in the ship
which was come, and bowing myself, I prayed God for him. Then he said to me:
'Behold you shall come to your country in two months, you shall press to your
bosom your children, and you shall rest in your tomb.'
After this I went down to the shore unto the ship, and I
called to the sailors who were there. Then on the shore I rendered adoration to
the master of this isle and to those who dwelt therein.
"When we shall come, in our return, to the house
of Pharaoh, in the second month, according to all that the serpent has said, we
shall approach unto the palace. And I shall go in before Pharaoh, I shall bring
the gifts which I have brought from this isle into the country. Then he shall
thank me before the fullness of the land. Grant then unto me a follower, and
lead me to the courtiers of the king. Cast your eye upon me after that I have
both seen and proved this. Hear my prayer, for it is good to listen to people.
It was said unto me: 'Become a wise man, and you shall come to honor,' and
behold I have become such."
This is finished from its beginning unto its end, even
as it was found in a writing. It is written by the scribe of cunning fingers,
Ameni-amenaa; may he live in life, wealth, and health!