An Egyptian Princess — Volume 04 eBook

Georg Ebers
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 80 pages of information about An Egyptian Princess — Volume 04.

The two Persian women listened to the old man in amazement.  Their unpractised powers were unable to follow the course of his thoughts.  Nitetis, however, had understood him thoroughly, and answered:  “My mother Ladice was the pupil of Pythagoras, and has told me something like this already; but the Egyptian priests consider such views to be sacrilegious, and call their originators despisers of the gods.  So I tried to repress such thoughts; but now I will resist them no longer.  What the good and wise Croesus believes cannot possibly be evil or impious!  Let Oropastes come!  I am ready to listen to his teaching.  The god of Thebes, our Ammon, shall be transformed into Ormuzd,—­Isis or Hathor, into Anahita, and those among our gods for whom I can find no likeness in the Persian religion, I shall designate by the name of ‘the Deity.’”

Croesus smiled.  He had fancied, knowing how obstinately the Egyptians clung to all they had received from tradition and education, that it would have been more difficult for Nitetis to give up the gods of her native land.  He had forgotten that her mother was a Greek, and that the daughters of Amasis had studied the doctrines of Pythagoras.  Neither was he aware how ardently Nitetis longed to please her proud lord and master.  Even Amasis, who so revered the Samian philosopher, who had so often yielded to Hellenic influence, and who with good reason might be called a free-thinking Egyptian, would sooner have exchanged life for death, than his multiform gods for the one idea “Deity.”

“You are a teachable pupil,” said Croesus, laying his hand on her head, “and as a reward, you shall be allowed either to visit Kassandane, or to receive Atossa in the hanging-gardens, every morning, and every afternoon until sunset.”

This joyful news was received with loud rejoicings by Atossa, and with a grateful smile by the Egyptian girl.

“And lastly,” said Croesus, “I have brought some balls and hoops with me from Sais, that you may be able to amuse yourselves in Egyptian fashion.”

“Balls?” asked Atossa in amazement; “what can we do with the heavy wooden things?”

“That need not trouble you,” answered Croesus, laughing.  “The balls I speak of are pretty little things made of the skins of fish filled with air, or of leather.  A child of two years old can throw these, but you would find it no easy matter even to lift one of those wooden balls with which the Persian boys play.  Are you content with me, Nitetis?”

[In Persia games with balls are still reckoned among the amusements of the men.  One player drives a wooden hall to the other, as in the English game of cricket.  Chardin (Voyage en Perse.  III. p. 226.) saw the game played by 300 players.]

“How can I thank you enough, my father?”

“And now listen to my plan for the division of your time.  In the morning you will visit Kassandane, chat with Atossa, and listen to the teaching of your noble mother.”

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An Egyptian Princess — Volume 04 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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