“Truly you have done wickedly,” said Pharaoh, shaking his head at him, “and, therefore, perhaps, you will lose your hand and even your life. Yet, child, you have a royal heart, who first saved your playmate and then, even in my presence, take all the blame upon yourself. Therefore I forgive you, son of Mermes; moreover, I see that I was wise not to listen to those who counselled that you should be put away at birth,” and bending over the boy, Pharaoh kissed him on the brow.
Also he gave orders that the greatest physicians in the land should attend upon him and purge the poison of the crocodile’s teeth from his body, and when he recovered—which save for the loss of the little finger of his right hand, he did completely—he sent him a sword with a handle of gold fashioned to the shape of a crocodile, in place of the knife which he had paid away for the pigeon, bidding him use it bravely all his life in defence of her who would be his queen. Further, although he was still so young, he gave to him the high title of Count in earnest of his love and favour, and with it a name that meant Defender of the Royal Lady.
After he had gone Asti the prophetess looked at the sword which Pharaoh had given to her son.
“I see royal blood on it,” she said, and handed it back to Rames.
But Rames and Tua were no more allowed to play together alone, for always after this the Princess was accompanied by women of honour and an armed guard. Also, within a year or two the boy was placed in charge of a general to be brought up as a soldier, a trade that he liked well enough, so that from this time forward he and Neter-Tua met but seldom. Still there was a bond between them which could not be broken by absence, for already they loved each other, and every night and morning when Tua made her petitions to Amen, after praying for Pharaoh her father, and for the spirit of her royal mother, Ahura, she prayed for Rames, and that they might meet soon. For the months when her eyes did not fall upon his face were wearisome to Tua.
THE SUMMONING OF AMEN
The years went by and the Princess Neter-Tua, who was called Morning Star of Amen, came at length to womanhood, and went through the ceremonies of Purification. In all Egypt there was no maiden so wise and spirited or so lovely. Tall and slender was her shape, blue as the sea were her eyes, rosy like the dawn were her cheeks, and when she did not wear it in a net of gold, her black and curling hair fell almost to her waist. Also she was very learned, for priests and priestesses taught her all things that she ought to know, together with the arts of playing on the harp and of singing and dancing, while her own excellent Spirit, that Ka which Amen had given her, instructed her in a deeper wisdom which she gathered unconsciously in sleep and waking dreams, as the slumbering earth gathers dew at night.