The scribe

This tale is inspired by didactic Egyptian text  called The Satire of the Trades.

Prompt  ….

Thank you Goroyboy for the photo prompt
About 3500 years ago Dua Kheti from Tjel in ancient Egypt sailed south with his 11 year old son – Pepy. Dua wanted Pepy to learn ‘writing’ at the scribal school in the capital city. Understandably, young Pepy did not want to leave his home.
Why this stress on writing? Pepy asked.
I have seen men beaten and carried off to work by force. You want that to happen to you. You want to work as a coppersmith and have fingers like claws of a crocodile and stink worse than rotten fish.
Or a jeweler piercing stones and stringing beads sitting with your knees and back bent all your life.
Or a carpenter tired to the bones and married to your axe.
Or a potter covered with mud burrowing in the earth like a swine.
Farmers, reed cutters, basket makers, barbers, sandal-makers, stone cutters, traders – work hard and just survive.
Then it is to writings that you must set your mind. There is nothing that surpasses writing to live fruitfully.
Words  ~ 174

Thank you Priceless Joy



16 thoughts on “The scribe

    • True, and he is likely to suffer from cramps etc if he has to sit and write for long hours. Posted this to highlight that occupational health is a comparatively new discipline. Bernardino Ramazzini (4 October 1633 – 5 November 1714) an Italian physician is called as Father of occupational medicine ….. yet the well informed were aware of the hazards associated with different works nearly 4000 years ago.

      Thank you for the read and interest.

    • Thank you. However the credit must go to the man who wrote this initially nearly 4000 years ago. The original document describes the travails of many jobs in great detail.

  1. Isnt it true even today? This post would be a big hit even in today’s date under the “Good Parenting” category!

  2. I hope Pepy is able to fulfil his father’s dreams. Thankfully life for many trades’ people has improved in the last 3500 years, but unfortunately not for all.

    • Definitely not for all. Governments in many countries sign ILO conventions about safe and decent work but do little to implement them.

      Pepy was lucky that he had a father who was aware and had resources to give his son the best available opportunity.

      Thank you so much for the interest.

  3. I think today, writing as a career in itself is not considered as fruitful…
    I went to an Egyptian museum once, and they had translated the scrolls they found. Some of which were simply letters to parents or records of debts owed. The one letter a man wrote to his father talked about how he wanted to lead his own life and not do what his father expected of him. I love how people are the same no matter what century they lived in. And your tale reflects this so well!

    • I have not come across any literature that mentions the fate of Pepy. I hope he fulfilled his father’s wishes and went on to become a successful scribe.
      Thank you so much for reading and commenting. 🙂

I love arguments

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