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The Eloquent Peasant

CRITIQUE | THE TEXT

Eloquent Peasant papyrusEloquent Peasant papyrus
Publication details ▽ Publication details △

Also called
The Tale of the Peasant and the Workman; The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant; The Plea of the Eloquent Peasant

First appearance
c.1875 BCE

Literature form
Story

Genres
Literary

Writing language
Egyptian hieroglyphs

Author's country
Egypt

Length
Approx. 5,000 words in English translation

Notable lines

(From various translations)

There was once a man whose name was Khunanup. He was a peasant of Sekhet-Hernat, and he had a wife named Merit. Now this peasant said to his wife, "Behold, I am going down to Egypt in order to bring provisions from there for my children. Go and measure for me the barley which is in the store house, that which remains from last year's barley.

First lines

They said that he was of all the world's kings
the gentlest of men, and the most gracious,
the kindest to his people, the keenest for fame.

If you descend to the Lake of Ma'at,
You will sail thereon in the breeze.
The fabric of your sail will not be tom,
Nor will your boat be driven ashore.
There will be no damage to your mast,
Nor will your yards be broken.
You will not founder when you come to land,
Nor will the waves bear you away.
You will not taste the perils of the river,
Nor will you gaze upon the face of fear.
The swiftly swimming fish will come to you,
And you will catch (many) fatted fowl;
For you are a father to the orphan,
A husband to the widow,
A brother to her who has been cast out,
The clothing of him who has no mother.

He who breathes calmly makes people pant.

Only the goodness of the good man is good beyond him.

Last line
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CRITIQUE | THE TEXT

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