“Because I,” said his grave companion, “pray to another God than yours. The sun and stars are but as toys in his hand, the earth is his foot-stool, the storm is his breath, and the sea is in his sight as the drops on the grass.”
“Teach me to know the Mighty One whom you worship!” exclaimed Pentaur.
“Seek him,” said Mesu, “and you will find him; for you have passed through misery and suffering, and on this spot on such a morning as this was He revealed to me.”
The stranger turned away, and disappeared behind a rock from the enquiring gaze of Pentaur, who fixed his eyes on the distance.
Then he thoughtfully descended the valley, and went towards the hut of the hunter. He stayed his steps when he heard men’s voices, but the rocks hid the speakers from his sight.
Presently he saw the party approaching; the son of his host, a man in Egyptian dress, a lady of tall stature, near whom a girl tripped lightly, and another carried in a litter by slaves.
Pentaur’s heart beat wildly, for he recognized Bent-Anat and her companions. They disappeared by the hunter’s cottage, but he stood still, breathing painfully, spell-bound to the cliff by which he stood—a long, long time—and did not stir.
He did not hear a light step, that came near to him, and died away again, he did not feel that the sun began to cast fierce beams on him, and on the porphyry cliff behind him, he did not see a woman now coming quickly towards him; but, like a deaf man who has suddenly acquired the sense of hearing, he started when he heard his name spoken—by whose lips?
“Pentaur!” she said again; the poet opened his arms, and Bent-Anat fell upon his breast; and he held her to him, clasped, as though he must hold her there and never part from her all his life long.
Meanwhile the princess’s companions were resting by the hunter’s little house.
“She flew into his arms—I saw it,” said Uarda. “Never shall I forget it. It was as if the bright lake there had risen up to embrace the mountain.”
“Where do you find such fancies, child?” cried Nefert.
“In my heart, deep in my heart!” cried Uarda. “I am so unspeakably happy.”
“You saved him and rewarded him for his goodness; you may well be happy.”
“It is not only that,” said Uarda. “I was in despair, and now I see that the Gods are righteous and loving.”
Mena’s wife nodded to her, and said with a sigh:
“They are both happy!”
“And they deserve to be!” exclaimed Uarda. “I fancy the Goddess of Truth is like Bent-Anat, and there is not another man in Egypt like Pentaur.”
Nefert was silent for awhile; then she asked softly: “Did you ever see Mena?”
“How should I?” replied the girl. “Wait a little while, and your turn will come. I believe that to-day I can read the future like a prophetess. But let us see if Nebsecht lies there, and is still asleep. The draught I put into the wine must have been strong.”