Historical Reprints History Tales of Khamuas

Tales of Khamuas

Tales of Khamuas
Catalog # SKU3840
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name F. L. Griffith
ISBN 10: 0000000000
ISBN 13: 0000000000000


Tales of Khamuas

Prince Khamuas & Si-Osiri

Translator: F. L. Griffith

The first tale of Khamuas is remarkable from every point of view. It is one of the finest works of imagination that Egypt has bequeathed to us; it belongs to the best period of demotic writing, when the script was at once full and expressive yet free from corruptions and superfluities, and the existing copy contains very few mistakes.

Print size, 12 point font



The title of the story is virtually found in the colophon: A complete writing is this, relating of Setne Khamuas and of Ne-nefer-ka-Ptah and Ahure his wife, and Mer-ab her son. The numbering of the pages is a very unusual feature in Egyptian MSS. The first two are gone, and the third page is injured at the beginning of each line. Happily the remainder is in almost perfect condition, the beginning of the papyrus having been torn off clean. Where it now commences, on the third of the large and closely written pages, we find Khamuas in the tomb of a certain Neneferkaptah, the only son of an ancient Pharaoh.

This prince is represented to have married his only sister, and to have perished miserably with his wife and child, thus extinguishing the king's hopes of being succeeded by his own descendants. The ghosts of Neneferkaptah, of his sister-wife Ahure, and of their child Merab, are present in the tomb, and at the beginning of our text Ahure is recounting to Khamuas the story of the disaster. All their calamities she attributes to Neneferkaptah's determination to possess a certain book of magic, which Khamuas is now eager to take from him. With this clue the general argument of the lost part of the tale may be confidently restored. It must be remembered, however, that what is missing exceeded the half of what remains, and must have contained episodes of considerable length now hopelessly lost.

The main points in the beginning of the story may have been to this effect: Setne Khamuas, the son of Pharaoh Usermara, being a diligent seeker after divine and ancient writings, was informed of the existence of a book which Thoth, the god of letters, science, and magic, had 'written with his own hand,' and learned that this book was to be found in the cemetery of Memphis, in the tomb of Neneferkaptah, the son of a Pharaoh named apparently Mer-neb-Ptah. Having succeeded in identifying and entering the tomb, accompanied by his brother Anherru, he finds there the ghosts of the owner, his wife and his child, and lying by them the coveted book. But they refuse to give it up to him.

Theirs it was, for they had 'paid for it with their earthly lives' and its magic power availed them in good stead even within the tomb. To dissuade Setne from taking the book Ahure tells him their own sad story.

Ahure's Story.

The missing part of this may perhaps be restored somewhat as follows: [And she said, 'It happened in the time of Pharaoh Mernebptah (?) that the king grew old and he had no child but myself, whose name is Ahure, and Neneferkaptah, my elder brother, who is beside me. And the king desired that there should be a child to his children, and he commanded that a feast should be made before Pharaoh after three (?) days, and that the sons of the generals and the daughters of the generals should be bidden. But my elder brother Neneferkaptah and I loved each other exceedingly, and I feared that the king would take me and give me in marriage to the son of a general and would marry Neneferkaptah to the daughter of another general in order that the family might be enlarged, and that so we should be separated.

Now the king had a steward, an aged man, who loved Neneferkaptah and me exceedingly, and when he saw that we loved each other he spake to me on the second (?) day and said, "Dost thou not love thy brother Neneferkaptah?" and I said, "Speak to the king that he may marry me with Neneferkaptah, and that he do not separate us." And he said, "I will go and speak to the king, for it is right that the son of the king should marry the daughter of the king ": and my heart was glad exceedingly.

Softcover, 5½ x 8½ , 96 pages
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