Uarda : a Romance of Ancient Egypt — Volume 04 eBook

Georg Ebers
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 58 pages of information about Uarda .

“They scent the fresh meat,” answered the physician, Nebsecht.  “Throw them the entrails, when you have done; the legs and back you can roast.  Be careful how you cut out the heart—­the heart, soldier.  There it is!  What a great beast.”

Nebsecht took the ram’s heart in his hand, and gazed at it with the deepest attention, whilst the old paraschites watched him anxiously.  At length: 

“I promised,” he said, “to do for you what you wish, if you restore the little one to health; but you ask for what is impossible.”

“Impossible?” said the physician, “why, impossible?  You open the corpses, you go in and out of the house of the embalmer.  Get possession of one of the canopi,

[Vases of clay, limestone, or alabaster, which were used for the preservation of the intestines of the embalmed Egyptians, and represented the four genii of death, Amset, Hapi, Tuamutef, and Khebsennuf.  Instead of the cover, the head of the genius to which it was dedicated, was placed on each kanopus.  Amset (tinder the protection of Isis) has a human head, Hapi (protected by Nephthys) an ape’s head, Tuamutef (protected by Neith) a jackal’s head, and Khebsennuf (protected by Selk) a sparrow-hawk’s head.  In one of the Christian Coptic Manuscripts, the four archangels are invoked in the place of these genii.]

lay this heart in it, and take out in its stead the heart of a human being.  No one—­no one will notice it.  Nor need you do it to-morrow, or the day after tomorrow even.  Your son can buy a ram to kill every day with my money till the right moment comes.  Your granddaughter will soon grow strong on a good meat-diet.  Take courage!”

“I am not afraid of the danger,” said the old man, “but how can I venture to steal from a dead man his life in the other world?  And then—­in shame and misery have I lived, and for many a year—­no man has numbered them for me—­have I obeyed the commandments, that I may be found righteous in that world to come, and in the fields of Aalu, and in the Sun-bark find compensation for all that I have suffered here.  You are good and friendly.  Why, for the sake of a whim, should you sacrifice the future bliss of a man, who in all his long life has never known happiness, and who has never done you any harm?”

“What I want with the heart,” replied the physician, “you cannot understand, but in procuring it for me, you will be furthering a great and useful purpose.  I have no whims, for I am no idler.  And as to what concerns your salvation, have no anxiety.  I am a priest, and take your deed and its consequences upon myself; upon myself, do you understand?  I tell you, as a priest, that what I demand of you is right, and if the judge of the dead shall enquire, ’Why didst thou take the heart of a human being out of the Kanopus?’ then reply—­reply to him thus, ’Because Nebsecht, the priest, commanded me, and promised himself to answer for the deed.’”

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Uarda : a Romance of Ancient Egypt — Volume 04 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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