By Sayce, A. H. (Archibald Henry)
THE TRAVELS OF A MOHAR
A SATIRICAL ACCOUNT OF A TOURIST'S MISADVENTURES IN CANAAN, WRITTEN IN THE TIME OF RAMSES II., THE PHARAOH OF THE OPPRESSION
(See Chapter )
I will portray for thee the likeness of a Mohar; I will let thee know what he does. Thou hast not gone to the land of the Hittites, nor hast thou beheld the land of Aupa. The appearance of Khatuma thou knowest not. Likewise the land of Igadai, what is it like? The Zar (Plain) of Sesostris and the city of Aleppo are on none of its sides. How is its ford? Thou hast not taken thy road to Kadesh (on the Orontes) and Tubikhi (the Tibhath of 1 Chr. xviii. 8), neither hast thou gone to the Shasu (Bedâwin) with numerous foreign soldiers, neither hast thou trodden the way to the Magharat (the caves of the Magoras near Beyrout), where the heaven is dark in the daytime. The place is planted with maple trees, oaks, and acacias, which reach up to heaven, full of beasts, bears and lions, and surrounded by Shasu in all directions. Thou hast not gone up to the mountain of Shaua (in the northern Lebanon), neither hast thou trodden it; there thy hands hold fast to the [rein] of thy chariot; a jerk has shaken thy horses in drawing it. I pray thee, let us go to the city of Beeroth (cisterns). Thou must hasten to its ascent, after thou hast passed over its ford in front of it.
Do thou explain the attraction to be a Mohar! Thy chariot lies there [before] thee; thy [strength] has fallen lame; thou treadest the backward path at eventide. All thy limbs are ground small. Thy [bones] are broken to pieces. Sweet is [sleep]. Thou awakest. There has been a time for a thief in this unfortunate night. Thou wast alone, in the belief that the brother could not come to the brother. Some grooms entered into the stable; the horse kicks out; the thief goes back in the night; thy clothes are stolen. Thy groom wakes up in the night; he sees what has happened to him; he takes what is left, he goes to the evil-doers, he mixes himself up with the tribes of the Shasu. He acts as if he were an Amu (Asiatic). The enemies come, they [feel about] for the robber. He is discovered, and is immovable from terror. Thou awakest, thou findest no trace of them, for they have carried off thy property.
Become (again) a Mohar, who is fully accoutred. Let thy ear be full of that which I relate to thee besides.
The town 'Hidden'—such is the meaning of its name Gebal—what is its state? Its goddess (we will speak of) at another time. Thou hast not visited it. Be good enough to look out for Beyrout, Sidon, and Sarepta. Where are the fords of the land of Nazana? The land of Usu (Palætyrus), what is its state? They speak of another city in the sea, Tyre the haven is her name. Drinking water is brought to her in boats. She is richer in fish than in sand. I will tell thee of something else. Dangerous is it to enter into Zorah. Thou wilt say it is burning with a very painful sting (?) Mohar, come! Go forward on the way to the land of Pa-Kâkina. Where is the road to Achshaph? Towards no city. Pray look at the mountain of User. How is its crest? Where is the mountain of Shechem? Who can surmount it? Mohar, whither must you take a journey to the city of Hazor? How is its ford? Let me (choose) the road to Hamath, Dagara, (and) Dagar-el. Here is the road where all Mohars meet. Be good enough to spy out its road, cast a look on Yâ ... When one goes to the land of Adamim, to what is one opposite? Do not draw back, but instruct us! Guide us that we may know, thou leader!
I will name to thee other cities besides these. Thou hast not gone to the land of Takhis, Kafir-Malona, Tamnah, Kadesh, Dapul, Azai, Har-Nammata, nor hast thou beheld Kirjath-eneb near Beth-Sopher (Kirjath-Sepher or Debir); nor dost thou know Adullam (and) Zidiputha, nor dost thou know any better the name of Khalza in the land of Aupa, the bull on its frontiers (?). Here is the place where all the mighty warriors are seen. Be good enough to look and see how Qina is situated, and tell me about Rehob. Describe Beth-sha-el (Bethel) along with Tarqa-el. The ford of the land of the Jordan, how is it crossed? Teach me to know the passage in order to enter into the city of Megiddo which lies in front of it. Verily thou art a Mohar, well skilled in the work of the strong hand. Pray, is there found a Mohar like thee, to place at the head of the army, or a seigneur who can beat thee in shooting?
Drive along the edge of the precipice, on the slippery height, over a depth of 2000 cubits, full of rocks and boulders. Thou takest thy way back in a zigzag, thou bearest thy bow, thou takest the iron in thy left hand. Thou lettest the old men see, if their eyes are good, how, worn-out with fatigue, thou supportest thyself with thy hand. Il est perdu, le chameau, le Mohar! Eh bien!18 Make to thyself a name among the Mohars and the knights of the land of Egypt. Let thy name be like that of Qazirnai the lord of Aser, because he discovered lions in the interior of the balsam-forest of Baka at the narrow passes, which are rendered dangerous by the Shasu who lie in ambush among the trees. (The lions) measured fourteen cubits by five cubits. Their noses reached to the soles of their feet. Of a grim appearance, without softness, they cared not for caresses. Thou art alone, no stronger one is with thee, no armée is behind thee, no Ariel (see 2 Sam. xxiii. 20, Isa. xxix. 1) who prepares the way for thee, and gives thee counsel on the road before thee. Thou knowest not the road. The hair on thy head stands on end; it bristles up. Thy soul is given into thy hands. Thy path is full of rocks and boulders, there is no way out near; it is overgrown with creepers and wolf's-foot. Abysses are on one side of thee, the mountain and the wall of rock on the other. Thou drivest in against it. The chariot jumps on which thou art. Thou art troubled to hold up thy horses. If it falls into the abyss, the pole drags thee down too. Thy ceintures are pulled away. They fall down. Thou shacklest the horse, because the pole is broken on the path of the narrow pass. Not knowing how to tie it up, thou understandest not how it is to be repaired. The essieu is left on the spot, as the load is too heavy for the horses. Thy courage has evaporated. Thou beginnest to run. The heaven is cloudless. Thou art thirsty; the enemy is behind thee; a trembling seizes thee; a twig of thorny acacia worries thee; thou thrustest it aside; the horse is scratched, till at length thou findest rest.
Explain thou thy attraction to be a Mohar!
Thou comest into Joppa. Thou findest the date-palm in full bloom in its time. Thou openest wide the aperture of thy mouth in order to eat. Thou findest that the maid who keeps the garden is fair. She does whatever thou wantest of her.... Thou art recognised, thou art brought to trial, and owest thy preservation to being a Mohar. Thy girdle of the finest stuff, thou payest it as the price of a bad rag. Thou sleepest every evening with a rug of fur over thee. Thou sleepest a deep sleep, for thou art weary. A thief takes thy bow and thy sword from thy side; thy quiver and thy armour are broken to pieces in the darkness; thy pair of horses run away. The groom takes his course over a slippery path that rises in front of him. He breaks thy chariot in pieces; he follows thy foot-tracks. [He finds] thy equipments, which had fallen on the ground, and had sunk into the sand, leaving only an empty space.
Prayer does not avail thee; even when thy mouth says: "Give food in addition to water that I may reach my goal in safety," they are deaf and will not hear. They say not yes to thy words. The iron-workers enter into the smithy; they rummage in the workshops of the carpenters; the handi-craftsmen and soldiers are at hand; they do whatever thou requirest. They put together thy chariot: they put aside the parts of it that have been made useless; thy spokes are façonné quite new; thy wheels are put on, they put the courroies on the axles and on the hinder part; they splice thy yoke, they put on the box of thy chariot; the [workmen] in iron forge the ...; they put the ring that is wanting on thy whip, they replace the lunières upon it.
Thou goest quickly onward to fight on the battlefield, to do the deeds of a strong hand and of firm courage.
Before I wrote I sought me out a Mohar who knows his power, who leads the jeunesse, a chief in the armée [who goes forward] even to the end of the world.
Answer me not, "That is good, this is bad;" repeat not to me thy opinion. Come, I will tell thee all which lies before thee at the end of thy journey.
I begin for thee with the palace of Sesostris (Ramses II.). Thou hast not set foot in it by force. Thou hast not eaten the fish in the brook of .... Thou hast not washed thyself in it. With thy permission I will remind thee of Huzana (near El-Arish); where is its fortress? Come, I pray thee, to the palace of the land of Uzi, of Sesostris Osymandyas in his victories, to Saz-el together with Absaqbu. I will inform thee of the land of Ainin (the Two Springs), the customs of which thou knowest not. The land of the lake of Nakhai and the land of Rehoburtha (Rehoboth, Gen. xxvi. 22) thou hast not seen since thou wast born, O Mohar. Rapih (the modern boundary between Egypt and Turkey) is widely extended. What is its wall like? It extends for a mile in the direction of Gaza.
18) By the use of French words and expressions Brugsch endeavours to represent the Canaanitish terms which the Egyptian writer has affectedly introduced into his work.