Ancient Egypt: History and culture
Ancient Egypt: A Herdsman's Tale
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The Tale of a Herdsman

Behold, I descended to the swamp, near this(i.e. previously mentioned) low-lying pasture ground. I saw a (nubile) woman there (i.e. in the swamp); she did not have the shape(?) of a human being. My hairs stood on edge when I saw her hair and the smoothness of her skin. I shall never do what she told me. The awe of her penetrated all my limbs.
I'd like to tell you: "Bulls, let us go on land(?) ! Ferry the calves across, while the small cattle will spend the night at the edge of the meadow and the herdsmen look after them. (As to) going ashore (from) our transporter, the bulls together with the cows(?) are in the stern."
- This fragment of the text, pBerlin 3024, has been dated to the 12th dynasty.
-hair: sr.w female or animal hair, possibly wig.
-skin: jwn lit. colour.
Cattle fording river
Herd fording river
Source: Jon Bodsworth
The learned among the herdsmen recite a water spell with this content: "My kas are rejoicing, O herdsmen, O men! I cannot be chased from this meadow in the year of the great Hapi, who even gives orders to the backs of the land and the lake is not distinguished from river.
(Be safe and sound.) Betake yourself in safety into the interior of your house. (For) the cows remain in their places. (You god of the inundation) who has come(?) ! The fear of you has dissipated and the respect for you vanished, until the anger of the Mighty One and the terror of (the goddess named) Lady of Both Lands will have disappeared(?)."
-water spell: against accidents on the water and for protection against crocodiles.
-ka: cf. Body and Soul
-great Hapi: high inundation
-backs of the land: elevated land surrounded by the waters of the inundation
-lake: probably the irrigation basins which were filled by the rising Nile waters.
-yourself: i.e. the god of inundation
-the Mighty One: Wosret (wsr.t)
Barely had the day broken over the land when it happened as he had said: this goddess came to meet him.
As was his wont, he turned towards the lake, and she appeared, having taken off her clothes and tousled her hair.....................

After the transcription and German translation on the Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae website,
P. Dils ed. Die Hirtengeschichte
Sächsische Akademie der Wissenschaften => Erzählungen => Die Hirtengeschichte => pBerlin 3024


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© January 2006