Papyrus Westcar - The Story

Next

End of the first story

/// The Majesty of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Kheops, justified, said: "Let a thousand offerings, a hundred jars of beer, one ox and two cones of incense be given to the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Djoser, justified. And let one give one loaf of bread, one jar of beer, a portion of meat and one cone of incense to the chief lector priest /// for I have seen his deed(s) of wisdom”.

And one acted in accordance to all that His Majesty had ordered.


The story of Weba-iner

Then prince Khefren stood up to speak, and he said: “I will let Your Majesty hear of the wonders that occurred during the lifetime of your ancestor, Nebka, justified.
He set out to the temple of Ptah, the Lord of Ankh-tawi. Well, His Majesty went to /// His Majesty had done /// the chief lector priest, Weba-iner and ///
But the wife of Weba-iner /// She had a box filled with clothes brought to /// And thus he came, with this maidservant.

Now after 3 days had passed after this -there was a summer house at the like of Weba-iner- this man said to the wife of Weba-iner: 'There is a summer house at the lake of Weba-iner. Let us spend some time, there’.
Weba-iner’s wife sent (a message) to the caretaker who was in charge of the lake, to say: 'Have the summer house that is at the lake prepared /// She spent the day drinking with the man /// Now after the night had fallen, he came and descended into the lake, the maidservant /// Weba-iner ///

Now after the sunrise, when a new day had broken, the caretaker went /// these words /// he did /// the lake /// and he gave it to his master ///Then Weba-iner said: ‘Bring me /// from the /// of ebony and plated gold /// messenger/// ‘/// crocodile /// 7 /// Then he recited /// ‘ /// when he goes to wash (himself) in my lake /// ‘ ///He gave it to the caretaker, saying to him: ‘ ow when this man descends into the lake, according to his daily habit, you will throw this crocodile in after him'.And so the caretaker went, having taken the crocodile of wax with him.

Now Weba-iner’s wife sent (a message) to the caretaker who was in charge of the lake, to say: 'Have the summer house that is at the lake prepared, for I will come to dwell in it'.
When the summer house was prepared with every good thing, she went (to it) and she spent a nice day with the man. Now after the night had fallen, the man went (into the lake) according to his daily habit. The caretaker threw the crocodile of wax into the water after him, and it became a crocodile of 7 cubits. It seized the man ///
Weba-iner had been with the Majesty of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Nebka, justified, for 7 days, while the man /// breathe ///. Now then, after 7 days had passed, the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Nebka, justified, set out to ///, but the chief lector priest Weba-iner placed himself in front of him. Then Weba-iner said: ' /// I will tell you. May Your Majesty set out and may you see the wonders that have occurred during Your Majesty's lifetime /// man /// '

/// Weba-iner. Then Weba-iner called (?) the crocodile to say: ‘May you bring the man /// ‘.And the crocodile came /// Then the chief lector priest Weba-iner said: ‘/// him ///'.

He put him /// him ///. The Majesty of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Nebka, justified, said: ‘This crocodile is probably dangerous’.But Weba-iner bowed down, seized it and held it in his hand as a crocodile of wax. When the chief lector priest Weba-iner repeated the Majesty of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Nebka, justified, the story of what this man had done with his wifem His Majesty said to the crocodile: ‘Take (him with) you'.
The crocodile went down into the /// of the lake, and nobody knows the place where it went with him.
Then the Majesty of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Nebka, justified, had Weba-iner's wife taken to a plot of land to the North of the Residence, and he had her burned. (Her ashes?) where thrown into the river.

Behold, the wonders that occurred during the lifetime of your ancestor, the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Nebka, justified which the chief lector priest Weba-iner has done".

The Majesty of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Kheops, justified, said: "Let a thousand offerings, a hundred jars of beer, one ox and two cones of incense be given to the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Nebka, justified. And let one give one loaf of bread, one jar of beer, a portion of meat and one cone of incense to the chief lector priest Weba-iner, for I have seen his deed(s) of wisdom”.
And one acted in accordance to all that His Majesty had ordered.


The story of Djadjamankh

Then prince Baefre stood up to speak, and he said: “  will let Your Majesty hear of the wonders that occurred during the lifetime of your ancestor, Nebka, justified, which the chief lector priest Djadjamankh has done.
/// each /// of the palace, may it live, prosper and be healthy, to search a cool place for him, but he could not find one. Thus he said: ‘ o and bring me the chief lector priest and scribe of the scrolls Djadjamankh'.

He was brought to him immediately and His Majesty said to him: ‘  have gone around in every room of the palace, may it live, prosper and be healthy, to seek me a cool place, but I have not found any'.Djadjamankh said to him: 'May Your Majesty walk to the lake of the Great House, may it live, prosper and be healthy, and may you man a galley with every beautiful girl that resides in the palace. Your Majesty's heart shall be refreshed, seeing them row up and down (the lake). While you watch the beautiful marshes of your lake and while you watch its fields and its beautiful banks, your heart will be refreshed by it’.
(The king then said:) 'Indeed, I shall go sailing. Let 20 strong oars of ebony, inlaid with fine gold, be brought to me, their grips (made of) wood and inlaid with fine good (as well). Let 20 women with beautiful bodies, be brought to me, strong breasted and with braided hair, who have not (yet) been opened by childbirth. And let 20 nets be brought to me and let these nets be placed on these women, when they have laid aside their clothes’.

One did according to everything that His Majesty had ordered.

They rowed up and down (the lake), and His Majesty's heart was glad of seeing them row. Now there was one of them, who was at the stroke oar, whose hair became entangled and her fish-shaped pendant made of turquoise fell into the water. She stopped and did not row (any more). Her (entire) gang of rowers stopped rowing (as well). His Majesty said: ‘Why do you not row?’
And they said: ‘Our leader has stopped rowing’.
So His Majesty said to her: 'Why is it that you do not row?'

And she said: ‘My fish-shaped turquoise pendant has fallen into the water'.
/// replacement ///

But she said: ‘I prefer my own possession to a copy of it'.

Thus His Majesty said: ‘Fetch me the chief lector priest Djadjamankh!'

And he was brought to him immediately. His Majesty said: 'Djadjamankh, my brother, I have done as you told me, and the heart of My Majesty was refreshed at seeing them row. But the fish-shaped turquoise pendant of one of the strokers has fallen into the water and now she has stopped rowing, which has upset her entire gang. When I said to her 'Why is it that you do not row', she said to me 'My fish-shaped turquoise pendant has fallen into the water'. And when I said to her ‘ ow, and behold, I will replace it', she said to me 'I prefer my own possession to a copy of it'.'

Then the chief lector priest Djadjamankh said his magic spell and he placed one side of the water of the lake upon the other and he found the pendant lying on a shard. He took it and gave it back to its owner. Now the water that was 12 cubits (deep) in the middle, now was 24 cubits (deep) after he had folded (it) over. Then he said his magic spell and he brought the water of the lake back to its place.

His Majesty spent an enjoyable day along with the entire palace and (he) set out to reward the chief lector priest Djadjamankh with all good things.

Behold, the miracles that happened during the lifetime of your father, the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Snofru, justified, as they were done by the chief lector priest and writer of scrolls, Djadjamankh”.

The Majesty of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Kheops, justified, said: "Let a thousand offerings, a hundred jars of beer, one ox and two cones of incense be given to the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Snofru, justified. And let one give one loaf of bread, one jar of beer, a portion of meat and one cone of incense to the chief lector priest Djadjamankh, for I have seen his deed(s) of wisdom”.
And one acted in accordance to all that His Majesty had ordered.


Djedi the Magician

Then prince Hordjedef stood up to speak, and he said: " /// of things that happened /// of the wisdom of those who have passed on, and one does not know truth from falsehood. But there is one (living) under Your Majesty, during your own reign, whom (Your Majesty) does not know ///“.His Majesty said: “Who is it, Hordjedef, my son?”.

And prince Hordjedef said: "There is a man named Djedi, who lives in Djed-Snofru. He is a man of 110 years (of age), but he eats 500 loaves of bread, the side of an ox for meat and he drinks 100 jugs of beer to this day. He can join a severed head, he can make a lion walk behind him with its leash on the ground and he knows the number of secret rooms in the sanctuary of Thot”.
Now the Majesty of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt Kheops, justified, had spent days in looking for these secret chambers of the sanctuary of Thot, in order to build something similar for his tomb and thus he spoke: “You yourself, Hordjedef my son, shall bring him to me”.

The ships of prince Hordjedef were prepared and he travelled southward to Djed-Snofru. Now after that the ships had moored on the banks, he (continued) travelling by land, seated in a carrying-chair made of ebony, with its carrying poles made in sesnedjem-wood and its mounting poles in gold.

Now when he arrived at Djedi's, the carrying chair was set down and he inquired after him. He found him, resting on a mat on the threshold /// his house, with a servant beside him, anointing him, and another one rubbing his legs. Prince Hordjedef said: "Your condition is like that of one who lives above age, for old age is the place of death, the place of being placed in a coffin and the place of burial, (it is like that) of one who sleeps until daytime, free of illness, without the hacking of coughs. So greetings, venerable one. I have come here to summon you with a message from my father, Kheops, justified. You shall eat the delicacies that the king gives, the food of those who are in his following and he will send you in good time to your ancestors who are in the necropolis”.
And this Djedi said: "In peace, in peace, Hordjedef, son of the king, beloved by his father. May your father Kheops, justified, praise you. May he advance your rank among the elders. May your ka prevail over your enemies. May your ba know the ways that lead to the gate that conceals the sight. So, greetings, prince".

Prince Hordjedef held out his hand to help him up. He went with him to the shore, lending him his arm. Djedi said: “Give me one of these travelling barges so that it may bring my children and my writings to me”, and two boats along with their crews were given to him.
Then Djedi travelled north in the boat in which prince Hordjedef was.

Now then, after he had reached the residence, prince Hordjedef entered in to report to the Majesty of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Kheops, justified. Prince Hordjedef said: “Sovereign, my Lord, I have brought Djedi".
And His Majesty said: "Go and bring him to me".

His Majesty went to the columned forecourt of the palace and Djedi was sent to him. His Majesty then said: “How is it, Djedi, that I was never made to see you?”.
And Djedi said: "It is he who is summoned, who comes, Sovereign. I have been summoned and behold, I have come”.
Then His Majesty said: "Is it true what one says? Can you join a severed head?”.
And Djedi said: “Yes, I can, Sovereign, my Lord”.
Then His Majesty said: “Have a prisoner brought to me from the prisons, so that he may be executed”.
But Djedi said: "Not, pray, with a human being, Sovereign, my Lord! Behold, it cannot be commanded that one does this to the noble cattle”.

And so a goose was brought to him. Its head was cut off and the goose was placed on the West side of the columned hall while its head was on the East side of the columned hall. Then Djedi said his magic spell and the goose stood up waddling, its head doing the same. Now then, after one had reached the other, the goose stood up cackling. 
Then he had a long legged bird brought to him and the same was done to it. Then His Majesty had a bull brought to him. Its head was cut off on the floor and Djed said his magic spell. The bull stood up behind him and it … that which had fallen to the floor. 

Then the king Kheops, justified, said: “It is also said that you know the number of secret chambers of the sanctuary of Thot”.
Djedi said: “So please you, I do not know the number thereof, Sovereign, my Lord, but I do know the place where they are”. 
His Majesty said: “Where are they, then?” 
And this Djedi said: "There is a box of flint in this room named 'Investigation' in Heliopolis. Behold it is in (this) box”. 
Then Djedi said: "Sovereign, my Lord. Behold, it is not me who will bring it to you”.

And His Majesty said: “Who will bring it to me, then?” Djedi said: “It is the eldest of the children that are still in the womb of Reddjedet who will bring it to you”. 
His Majesty said: “I want it, so may you say who is this Reddjedet?” 
And Djedi said: "She is the wife of a wab-priest of Re, the Lord of Sakhbu. She is pregnant with the children of Re, the Lord of Sakhbu and he said about them that they shall assume the most excellent office of the entire land and the eldest of them shall be Great Seer in Heliopolis”. 
Now the heart of His Majesty fell into sadness because of this and so Djedi said: "What is wrong with your heart, Sovereign, my Lord? Is it because of these children? I say, first your son, then his son and then one among them”. 
His Majesty said: “When will Redjedet give birth?"
And Djedi said: “She will give birth in the first month of peret, on the 15th day”. His Majesty said: "Just when the sandbanks of the Two-Fishes channel are dry. I would set out to go to her myself, for I plan to see the temple of Re, Lord of Sakhbu”. 
Djedi said: “Then I shall create 4 cubits of water on the sandbanks of the Two-Fishes channel”.

His Majesty went into the palace and His Majesty then said: "Let Djedi be appointed to the house of prince Hordjedef, so that he shall dwell with him. Make his provisions to be a thousand loaves of bread, a hundred jugs of beer, one bull and a hundred bundles of vegetables”.
And one acted in accordance to all that His Majesty had ordered.


The Birth of the Royal Children

On one of these days, Reddjedet was having pains and her labour was hard. The Majesty of Re, Lord of Sakhbu said to Isis, Nephthys, Meskhenet, Heqet and Khnum: “Would that you go and help Redjedet deliver the three children she is carrying in her womb and who shall assume the most excellent office of the entire land for they will build your temples, they will provision your altars, they will make your offering tables flourish and they will increase your offerings”. 
So these gods set out and they made their appearance as that of musicians, while Khnum was with them as porter. When they arrived at the home of Userre, they found him standing, (his) loin cloth upside down. They held out their menat and sistra and he said to them: “My wife, behold, she is a woman suffering from labour pains”.
They entered to Reddjedet, locking the room behind her and themselves. Isis placed herself before her, Nephthys behind her and Heqet hastened the birth. Then Isis said: “Don't be so might in her woomb, for your name is 'Mighty One'".

This child rushed forth onto her arms, a child of one cubit (in length), strong of bones, his limbs covered with gold and his headdress of true lapis lazuli. They washed him, cut his navel-string and placed (him) on a cloth (set) on bricks. Then Meskhenet approached him and she said to him: “A king who will assume kingship over the entire land”.
And Khnum made his body healthy.

Then Isis placed herself before her, Nephthys behind her and Heqet hastened the birth. Isis said: “Do not tread in her womb, for your name is ‘The one who treads for Re’”.
The child rushed forth onto her arms, a child of one cubit (in length), strong of bones, his limbs covered (with gold) and his headdress of true lapis lazuli. They washed him, cut his navel-string and placed (him) on a cloth (set) on bricks. Then Meskhenet approached him and she said to him: “A king who will assume kingship over the entire land”.
And Khnum made his body health.

Then Isis placed herself before her, Nephthys behind her and Heqet hastened the birth. Isis said: "Do not be so dark in her whomb, for your name is 'The dark one'".

The child rushed forth onto her arms, a child of one cubit (in length), strong of bones, his limbs covered (with gold) and his headdres of true lapis lazuli. Meskhenet approached him and she said to him: "A king who will assume kingship over the entire land".

And Khnum made his body health. Then they washed him, cut his navel-string and placed (him) and placed (him) on a cloth (set) on bricks.

These gods came out, having delivered Reddjedet from child birth and they said: "May your heart rejoice, Userre, for three children are born to you".

And he said to them: "My ladies, what can I do for you? Please, give this sack of barley to your porter and take it in exchange for some beer".

Khnum loaded himself with the sack of barley and then they went back to the place whence they came.

And Isis said to these gods: " Why is it that we came here, if not to do some miracles for these children and to report to their father who has made us come?"

Thus they made three crowns fit for Lords and they put them in the sack of barley. Then they made the sky fill with storm and rain, so that they had to return to the house. And they said: "Please, let us put this sack of barley here, in a sealed room until we return from dancing up north".

And so they placed the sack of barley in a sealed room. Now Reddjedet was cleansing herself in the cleansing of fourteen days, when she said to her maidservant: "Is the house prepared?"

And she said: "It is prepared with every good thing, except with jars of beer, which have not been brought".

Reddjedet said: "And why have the jars of beer not been brought?"

The maidservant said: "There is no doing good here, but for this one sack of barley of these musicians which is in a room bearing their seal".

Reddjedet then said: "Go down and bring some of it. Userre will give them due compensation later".

The maidservent went down but when she opened the room, she heard the sound of singing, music, dancing, shouting and everything that is done for a king in the room. She went and she repeated all that she heard to Reddjedet. She the walked around in the room, but she did not find the place where it was done. Then she placed the temple of her head against the sack and she found out that it was done in there. She put it in a box, placed it inside another chest bound with leather straps, placed it in a room that contained her belongings and sealed it.

When Userre returned from the field, Reddjedet repeated what had happened to him and his heart was happier than ever. They sat together for a day of feasting.

Now then, after several days had come to pass after this, Reddjedet had a quarrel with the maidservant and she had her punished with a beating. The maidservant then said to the people that were in the house: "How could she do this to me while she has given birth to three kings? I shall go and tell it to the Majesty of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Kheops, justified".

She went and found her older brother of her mother, binding bundles of flax on the threshing floor and he said to her: "Whereto, little girl?"

She then repeated the matter and her brother told her: "Is this indeed what is done, this coming to me so that I would agree with treatury?"

He grabbed a bundle of flax and he gave her a severe beating. The maidservant went to get some water, when a crocodile seized her.

Her brother then went to tell Reddjedet. He found Reddjedet sitting with her head on her knees, and her heart sad because of all that happened. So then he told her: "My Lady, why is your heart thus?"

And she said: "It is because of this little one that grew up in this house for see, she went off saying 'I will go and tell'".

He hung his head and said: "My Lady, she did come to tell me /// and she stood beside me. I gave her a severe beating and when she went to get some water, a crocodile seized her".

At this point, the story breaks off.


© Jacques Kinnaer 1997 - 2017