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members, something like the Board of Public Charities, should be appointed by the Governor, without salary, to visit every part of the State, confer with local boards, elected as our school directors now are, and make reports to the commissioner, who would in turn report to the Legislature, by whom such general measures should from time to time be passed as might be necessary for the promotion of the most thorough and most extended public edu-cation.
The limits of a magazine article preclude us from saying more upon a subject as interesting as it is important to every citizen.
We have endeavored, in the foregoing pages, to indicate the reforms which we thought desirable, without referring to those who first proposed them. So little is original in politics, that where one does not assert proprietorship in the literary mine the ore of which he is engaged in extracting, he can hardly be accused of unfairly appropriating the mental property of another. If the writer of these hastily compiled pages has fallen into the fault which he has sought to avoid, he hereby begs leave to render unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's by disclaiming any originality in what he has said, other than that which always belongs to the latest compiler upon any subject.
A NURSERY TALE OF ANCIENT EGYPT.
[This curious relic of the literature of the reign of Ramses II was purchased by Mrs. D’Orbiney in Italy and submitted to the Vicompte De Rougè in Paris for inspection, who at once recognized its romantic character, and published an abstract of its contents in the Revue Archæologique. This gave it a high money value, and placed it beyond the convenience of the Museum of the Louvre to secure it. It was bought by the direction of the British Museum, and published in fac simile by that institution. Parts of it only were translated into English ; but many passages were found too obscure for satisfactory translation at that time. Dr. Brugsch essayed a complete translation of it into German in 1864, and published it in his charming little sketch of travels on the Nile, entitled “ Aus dem Orient,'' but without making known his opinion of its value as bearing upon the complicated mythological systems of Egypt, and also necessarily without noticing the relation of its principal character to one of the royal cartouches on the second tablet of Abydos, still more recently discovered by M. Dumichen, after the corridors of the palace of Seti I. were exposed to view by the excavations of Mariette Bey.
Before undertaking to show the connection which this papyrus seems to establish between an apparently historical king of the IId dynasty and the hero of a romance of the XIXth (an interval of two or three thousand years), I will give an English version of Dr. Brugsch's German translation, condensing somewhat its more pleonastic passages, but preserving its genuine Egyptian features.
Thelanguage and style of all the literature of the XVIIIth and XIXth dynasties, thus far discovered, is known to be simple and artless, like that of the early Hebrew Scriptures; even more childlike and primitive than that of the Homeric poems, which they antedate by six or seven centuries. The story before us is as full of feeling as it is fanciful, or, to speak more after Occidental notions, fantastic. It may be called with almost equal propriety a fairy tale or a nursery tale. Its resemblance to some of the Mosaic narratives will strike every mind. The same directness of action is seen in both; the same tendency to set phrases opening the successive scenes of the drama; the same monotone of narration, like recitative in music; and the same sudden and unexpected flashing out of some more important interest after a wearisome length of childish common place. These are, in fact, characteristic qualities common to all vigorous but undisciplined and uncultivated imaginations when charged with the fire of genius, inspired by great events, and unbridled by those rules of taste which successive ages of rising civilization have established for modern writers. Indeed, it would be surprising if no such striking resemblance appeared; for the papyrus purports to be written by a scribe, named Annana, for the amusement or instruction of the young prince Seti Menephta, during the reign of his father, the Greek Sesostris, Ramses II. surnamed Meiamun, third king of the XIXth dynasty, 1450 B. C., more or less. And Egyptologists, who, like Dr. Brugsch, are orthodox believers in the historical value of the Mosaic record, agree in calling this Menephta the Pharaoh of the Exodus, although the monuments record his temporary exile in Ethiopia (of which every heir apparent to the Egyptian empire seems to have been prince by right of birth-a sort of Dauphin)—and his subsequent restoration to the throne, —but not his death in the Red Sea.
To students of the Pentatuuch, it will not be needful to point out coincidents between some of the details of this story, and of that of the Hebrew Joseph ; they speak for themselves. ]
THERE were once two brothers of one mother and one
1 father, the elder Anepu, the younger Batau. And Anepu had a house and wife; and his younger brother was like his son, and made him clothes, and followed his herds, and helped till the fields after ploughing was done, and was a good worker; there was not his equal in all Egypt.
After many days, the younger was, as usual, with the cattle, driving them home each evening, laden with fodder from the fields, to give them food. The elder sat with his wife, eating and drinking, while the younger was in the stable with his cows.
And when the earth shone with a new day, and the lamp no longer burnt, he rose before his elder brother was awake, and drove the cattle afield, and carried their meals to the field hands, and then followed his herd, who told him where the good grass grew, he listening to their words and driving them accordingly; so that they grew large and increased in numbers greatly.
In ploughing time his elder brother said to him: Let us take teams and plough, for the soil shows [above the inundation) and it is a good time to plough; bring seed to the field, and we will plough. . . . . And his younger brother did as he was told.
And on the morrow they went and had their full of field work, and enjoyed it.
And after many days they were in the field, and [wanted seed] and he sent his younger brother, saying: Haste, bring seed out from town. And he found his elder brother's wife sitting, braiding her hair, and said to her : Arise, and give me seed, for I must hasten to the fields; my brother ordered me not to dally here. She said to him: Go, open the seed chamber, and take what thy soul wishest, for my hair might come untwisted if I went. So the young man went to his stall and got a large basket, for he wished to take much seed, and filled it with wheat and barley, and bore it thence. She asked: How much? He replied : Three measures of barley and two of wheat, in all five, are in my hands. Thou art very strong, said she, as I have often noticed. And her heart recognized him ... and she . . . burnt toward him and said: Come, let us have a good quiet hour. Dress up! I will give you fine clothes. Then was the young man as mad as a panther at this wicked speech of hers : and then she grew very much alarmed. For he said to her: Woman, thou art in the place of a mother, and thy husband of a father to me; for he is enough older than I am to be my father. What a great sin hast thou said to me! but if thou dost not repeat it, neither will I let a word of it escape my mouth to any one. And taking up his burden, he went out to the fields, and joined his elder brother, and they were busy and finished the work.
When the day was at an end and the evening had arrived, then turned the elder brother to go home, but the younger followed his cattle, loaded himself with all kinds of green produce, and drove them to the stable, to the stall, in town. And lo! the elder brother's wife, alarmed at the words that she had uttered, had wounded herself, and represented herself as having been overpowered by some wicked person, intending to tell her husband : Thy younger brother hath overpowered me. So when her husband returned, as usual, in the evening, and entered his house, and found his wife lying there, as if some scoundrel had mishandled her, and did not give him water for his hands as usual, nor lit the lamp before him, so that his home was in darkness, but lay there pale and faint, her husband said : Who has been talking to thee? Stand up. She said to him: No one has spoken to me except thy younger brother. When he came in to get seed corn, and found me sitting alone, he said to me: Come, let us have a good quiet hour ; put on thy handsome clothes. That was what he said to me. But I did not listen to him. See, said I, am I not thy mother, and thy brother, is he not a father to thee? That was what I said to him. And then he became alarmed, and did violence to me, so that I should not inform against him. If, then, you let him live, I shall die. See, he came to .... if I bear this wicked language, he will certainly do it.(?) At this the elder brother was as mad as a panther, and sharpened his axe and took it in his hand, and placed himself behind the stall door, to kill his younger brother on his return in the evening, driving his cattle home to the stall. And when the sun had set, and he had loaded himself with all kinds of fodder, as was his wont, he approached, and his first cow entered the stall, and said to her driver: Beware of thine elder brother, he stands before thee with an axe to kill thee; keep away from him ; and he heard what the first cow said. Then went a second in and spake in like manner; and he looked beneath the door of the stall, and saw his brother's feet, behind the door, with an axe in his hand. So he laid his burden on the ground, and filed sadly thence; and his elder brother followed with the axe. And his younger brother com
plained to the Sun God, Harmachis, saying: Good my Lord, thou art the one to distinguish falsehood from truth. And it pleased the Sun God to hear his cry, and to raise a flood between him and his elder brother, and it was full of crocodiles. And one was on one bank, and the other on the other. And the elder brother-made two strokes with his hand, but succeeded not in killing him. That he did. And the younger brother cried from the other bank, saying: Stay and wait till it be daylight on the earth, and when the Sun God rises, I will explain myself to thee to cause thee to know the truth, for never have I done thee wrong. But where thou art I will not stay, but I will go to the Cedar Mountain.
When the earth had grown bright with a new day, the Sun God rose, and they saw each other; and the younger said to the elder brother: Why pursuest thou, to kill me unrighteously? Hearest thou not my mouth say: I am truly thy younger brother, and thou wast as a father to me, and thy wife as a mother. Lo, did it not happen, that when thou sentest me to bring seed corn, thy wife said to me: Come, let us celebrate a quiet hour? Now see, she has reversed it all. And he caused him to know what had occurred between him and his wife. And he swore by the Sun God, saying: If it be thy intention to kill me, then stick thine axe in the hole of thy girdle (?). . And he drew forth a sharp knife and cut off a member of his body and threw it into the water, and the fishes ate it.
Theı sank he swooning and lifeless: but the soul of his elder brother was sorely troubled. And there he stood and wept and mourned, and could not cross over to his younger brother for the crocodiles. And his younger brother called to him, saying: Lo, thou thoughtest evil, and hadst not good in mind therefor; Yet will I inform thee of one thing that thou must do. Go home and tend thy kine, for I will not abide where thou abidest, but will go to the Cedar Mountain. This must thou do when thou comest to look about thee for me. Know that my soul and I must part; I shall lay it in the topmost cedar flower; and when the cedar shall be felled, it shall fall to the earth. If thou comest to seek it, tarry seven years seeking it, and if thy soul can endure so long then thou shalt find it. Then lay it in a vessel with cold water; so will I live again, and will answer all questions,