[A medicine case, belonging to a
more ancient period than the reign
of Rameses, is preserved in the Berlin Museum.]
“What do you want?” asked Bent-Anat.
“A remedy for palpitation,” replied Nefert; she quietly took the flask she needed, and in a few minutes put it into Uarda’s hand.
The girl asked the steward to open the wine-skin, and let her taste the liquor. While she pretended to drink it, she poured the whole contents of the phial into the wine, and then let Bent-Anat’s bountiful present be carried to the thirsty drivers.
She herself went towards the kitchen tent, and found a young Amalekite sitting on the ground with the princess’s servants. He sprang up as soon as he saw the damsel.
“I have brought four fine partridges,”
[A brook springs on the peak called by the Sinaitic monks Mr. St. Katherine, which is called the partridge’s spring, and of which many legends are told. For instance, God created it for the partridges which accompanied the angels who carried St. Katharine of Alexandria to her tomb on Sinai.]
he said, “which I snared myself, and I have brought this turquoise for you—my brother found it in a rock. This stone brings good luck, and is good for the eyes; it gives victory over our enemies, and keeps away bad dreams.”
“Thank you!” said Uarda, and taking the boy’s hand, as he gave her the sky-blue stone, she led him forward into the dusk.
“Listen, Salich” she said softly, as soon as she thought they were far enough from the others. “You are a good boy, and the maids told me that you said I was a star that had come down from the sky to become a woman. No one says such a thing as that of any one they do not like very much; and I know you like me, for you show me that you do every day by bringing me flowers, when you carry the game that your father gets to the steward. Tell me, will you do me and the princess too a very great service? Yes?—and willingly? Yes? I knew you would! Now listen. A friend of the great lady Bent-Anat, who will come here to-night, must be hidden for a day, perhaps several days, from his pursuers. Can he, or rather can they, for there will probably be two, find shelter and protection in your father’s house, which lies high up there on the sacred mountain?”
“Whoever I take to my father,” said the boy, “will be made welcome; and we defend our guests first, and then ourselves. Where are the strangers?”
“They will arrive in a few hours. Will you wait here till the moon is well up?”
“Till the last of all the thousand moons that vanish behind the hills is set.”
“Well then, wait on the other side of the stream, and conduct the man to your house, who repeats my name three times. You know my name?”
“I call you Silver-star, but the others call you Uarda.”
“Lead the strangers to your hut, and, if they are received there by your father, come back and tell me. I will watch for you here at the door of the tent. I am poor, alas! and cannot reward you, but the princess will thank your father as a princess should. Be watchful, Salich!”