“How do you come here, Scherau?” the paraschites asked the weeping boy; the unfortunate child that Hekt was bringing up as a dwarf.
“I wanted,” sobbed the little one, “to bring the cake to Uarda. She is ill—I had so much—”
“Poor child,” said the paraschites, stroking the boy’s hair; “there-give it to Uarda.”
Scherau went up to the sick girl, knelt down by her, and whispered with streaming eyes:
“Take it! It is good, and very sweet, and if I get another cake, and Hekt will let me out, I will bring it to you.
“Thank you, good little Scherau,” said Uarda, kissing the child. Then she turned to Pentaur and said:
“For weeks he has had nothing but papyrus-pith, and lotus-bread, and now he brings me the cake which grandmother gave old Hekt yesterday.”
The child blushed all over, and stammered:
“It is only half—but I did not touch it. Your dog bit out this piece, and this.”
He touched the honey with the tip of his finger, and put it to his lips. “I was a long time behind the reeds there, for I did not like to come out because of the strangers there.” He pointed to Nebsecht and Pentaur. “But now I must go home,” he cried.
The child was going, but Pentaur stopped him, seized him, lifted him up in his arms and kissed him; saying, as he turned to Nebsecht:
“They were wise, who represented Horus—the symbol of the triumph of good over evil and of purity over the impure—in the form of a child. Bless you, my little friend; be good, and always give away what you have to make others happy. It will not make your house rich—but it will your heart!”
Scherau clung to the priest, and involuntarily raised his little hand to stroke Pentaur’s cheek. An unknown tenderness had filled his little heart, and he felt as if he must throw his arms round the poet’s neck and cry upon his breast.
But Pentaur set him down on the ground, and he trotted down into the valley. There he paused. The sun was high in the heavens, and he must return to the witch’s cave and his board, but he would so much like to go a little farther—only as far as to the king’s tomb, which was quite near.
Close by the door of this tomb was a thatch of palm-branches, and under this the sculptor Batau, a very aged man, was accustomed to rest. The old man was deaf, but he passed for the best artist of his time, and with justice; he had designed the beautiful pictures and hieroglyphic inscriptions in Seti’s splendid buildings at Abydos and Thebes, as well as in the tomb of that prince, and he was now working at the decoration of the walls in the grave of Rameses.
Scherau had often crept close up to him, and thoughtfully watched him at work, and then tried himself to make animal and human figures out of a bit of clay.
One day the old man had observed him.
The sculptor had silently taken his humble attempt out of his hand, and had returned it to him with a smile of encouragement.