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
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 kindred.'
"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
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,