back

Ancient Egyptian Texts:  3.5


THE INSTRUCTION OF ANKHSHESHONQ


Date:   Ptolemaic period
Language:   Demotic
Translated by:   M. Lichtheim
Format:   see key to translations

  The single papyrus (BM 10508) that contains the demotic text of these maxims was probably made towards the end of the Ptolemaic period; but they may have been composed at a slightly earlier date.   The translation is by M. Lichtheim, "Ancient Egyptian Literature", vol. 3, pp.159-184.


[1] . . . . . . Pharaoh asked him many [things] and he answered them all. . . . of the chief physician; and the chief physician did nothing without consulting Harsiese son of Ramose about it. A few days later it happened that the chief physician went to his fathers { died }. Harsiese son of Ramose was made chief physician, and he was given everything that belonged to the chief physician entirely, and his brothers were made priests without fee. And Pharaoh did nothing without consulting Harsiese son of Ramose about it.   

After this it happened one day that Ankhsheshonq son of Tjainufi . . . was in great trouble. He thought to himself, saying: "What I should like to do is to go to Memphis and stay with Harsiese son of Ramose. I have been told he has been made chief physician [and has been given everything] that belonged to the chief physician entirely, and his brothers have been made priests without fee. Perhaps the god will put it [in his heart] to do for me what is right."     He went away from Heliopolis without [informing] any man on earth of his going. He found a ship which was sailing . . .     

[2] . . . " . . . [stay] here in Memphis with me. . . . your people three times a month." Ankhsheshonq son of Tjainufi stayed with] Harsiese son of Ramose; and he . . . to Heliopolis to his people three times a month.    

. . . consulting about an evil destiny . . . Harsiese son of Ramose, the chief physician, consulted . . . Ankhsheshonq son of Tjainufi about it. Then said Ankhfsheshonq [son of Tjainufi] to him: " . . . may your life prosper! Pharaoh is the image of Pre! . . . agree to the misfortune of Pharaoh? Pharaoh has done for you many good things, [more than to] all [the courtiers of] the palace. You were brought to the palace when you had nothing in the world. He appointed you chief physician. He let you be given everything that belonged to the chief physician entirely. He had your brothers made priests without fee. Is what you are doing in return to have him killed?" Said he: "Let go of me, Ankhsheshonq son of Tjainufi. There is nothing to the words you have said. The councillors, the generals, the grandees of the palace are all agreed to do it."    

Now it happened that everything Harsiese son of Ramose was saying to Ankhsheshonq son of Tjainufi, and that Ankhsheshonq said to him in reply - there was a man of the household inside a [place] where he heard the voices of the two men who was called Wahibre-makhy son of Ptahertais. It was the turn of this same man to lie down that night in the vestibule of the private chamber where Pharaoh was. When [night] came he lay down in the vestibule of the private chamber where Pharaoh was.    

In the 8th hour of the night Pharaoh awoke, uncovered his face, and called out, saying, "Who is outside?" Wahibre-makhy son of Ptahertais answered him. Pharaoh said to him: "Woe . . ., woe at the hand of Pre and the gods who are . . .   

[3]  . . . when he had said . . ., he said: "Shall I be saved, shall I be saved, Wahibre-makhy son of Ptahertais, shall I be saved?" He said: "You will be saved by the hand of Pre and the gods who are with him, and great Neith, the mother, the great goddess, shall place the peoples of the whole earth beneath the feet of Pharaoh." He related to Pharaoh everything he had overheard Harsiese son of Ramose saying to Ankhsheshonq son of Tjainufi and what Ankhsheshonq had said to him in reply, without altering a single word. Pharaoh was unable to sleep till morning.   

When the morning of the next day had come. Pharaoh took his seat in the hall of the palace in Memphis. The magistrates stood in their station and the generals in their ranks. Pharaoh looked to the station of Harsiese son of Ramose. Pharaoh said to him: "Harsiese son of Ramose, you were brought to the palace when you had nothing in the world. I appointed you chief physician and let you be given everything that belonged to the chief physician entirely; and I had your brothers made priests without fee. What have you done, conspiring against me to have me killed?"    

He said to Pharaoh: "My great lord! On the day on which Pre commanded to do good to me he put Pharaoh's good fortune in my heart. On the day on which Pre commanded to do harm to me he put Pharaoh's misfortune in my heart."    

Pharaoh said to him: "The words, since they were said to us, did you say them to any man at all?" He said: "I said them to Ankhsheshonq son of Tjainufi, a priest of Pre who is here in Memphis with me." Pharaoh said to him: "Ankhsheshonq son of Tjainufi, what is he to you?" He said: "His father was the friend of my father. His heart was much attached to him."    

Pharaoh said: "Let Ankhsheshonq son of Tjainufi be brought!" They ran for Ankhsheshonq son of Tjainufi; they ran and returned bringing him before Pharaoh at once.    

Pharaoh said to him: "Ankhsheshonq son of Tjainufi, did you eat my bread and hear evil against me without coming to inform me of it, saying, 'They are conspiring against you to kill you' ?"    

[4] . . . Is what you are doing in return, to have him killed? By your face, my great lord, I did all I could with him, but he did not give me an answer. I knew that these matters would not be hidden from Pharaoh."    

As soon as he had said this, Pharaoh had an altar of earth built at the door of the palace. He had Harsiese son of Ramose placed in the fire together with all his people and every man who had conspired in Pharaoh's doom. Pharaoh had Ankhsheshonq son of Tjainufi taken to the houses of detention of Daphnae. A personal servant, a staff-bearer, a man of Pharaoh's household, was assigned to him, and his food was brought from the palace daily.    

After this there occurred the accession-day of Pharaoh. Pharaoh released everyone who was in the prisons at Daphnae except Ankhsheshonq son of Tjainufi . His heart sank on account of it. He said to the staff-bearer who was assigned to him: "Let a favour be done to me by you. Let a palette and a scroll be brought to me. For I have a boy whom I have not yet been able to instruct. I shall write an Instruction for him and have it taken to Heliopolis to instruct him with it." The staff-bearer said: "I will report it before Pharaoh first." The staff-bearer reported it before Pharaoh first. Pharaoh commanded, saying: "Let a palette be taken to him; do not let a scroll be taken to him." They took a palette to him; they did not take a scroll to him. He wrote on the sherds of jars the matters which he could teach his son in writing.    

This is the Instruction which the divine father Ankhsheshonq, whose mother was . . ., wrote for his son on the sherds of the jars that were brought in to him containing mixed wine, while he was imprisoned in the house of detention of Daphnae. He said:    

Mistreatment and misery, my great lord Pre! Imprisonment, mistreatment is what is done to me in return for not having killed a man! This is what you despise, my great lord Pre! Is this not how Pre is angry with a land? Oh you people who shall find these potsherds, hear from me how Pre is angry with a land!    

[5] [When Pre is angry] with a land he causes . . .      

2 [When] Pre is angry with a land its ruler neglects the law.      

3 When Pre is angry with a land he makes law cease in it.      

4 When Pre is angry with a land he makes sanctity cease in it.      

5 When Pre is angry with a land he makes justice cease in it.      

6 When Pre is angry with a land he makes value scarce in it.     

7 When Pre is angry with a land he does not let one be trusting in it.      

8 When Pre is angry with a land he does not let one receive ransom [in] it.     

9 When Pre is angry with a land he makes great its humble people and humbles its great people.      

10 When Pre is angry with a land he sets the fools over the wise.      

11 When Pre is angry with a land he orders its ruler to mistreat its people.      

12 When Pre is angry with a land he appoints its scribe to rule it.      

13 When Pre is angry with a land he appoints its washerman as chief of police.     

14 Here follow the words that Ankhsheshonq son of Tjainufi wrote on the sherds of the jars that were brought in to him containing mixed wine, so as to give them as an Instruction to his son, and which were reported before Pharaoh and his great men daily. Ankhsheshonq son of Tjainufi had realized the fact that he was to linger in prison since they had not released him, and he wrote on the sherds of the jars the matters that he could teach his son in writing.     

[6] [Serve your] god, that he may guard you.      

2 Serve your brothers, that you may have good repute.      

3 Serve a wise man, that he may serve you.      

4 Serve him who serves you.      

5 Serve any man, that you may find profit.      

6 Serve your father and mother, that you may go and prosper.      

7 Examine every matter, that you may understand it.      

8 Be gentle and patient, then your heart will be beautiful.      

9 It is in maturity that instruction succeeds.      

10 Do not rely on the property of another, saying, "I will live on it"; acquire your own.     

11 Do not abuse when you fare well, lest you fare badly.      

12 Do not send a low woman on a business of yours; she will go after her own.      

13 Do not send a wise man in a small matter when a big matter is waiting.      

14 Do not send a fool in a big matter when there is a wise man whom you can send.      

15 Do not send into town when you may find trouble in it.      

16 Do not long for your home when you do an errand      

17 Do not long for your home to drink beer in it in midday.      

18 Do not pamper your body, lest you become weak.      

19 Do not pamper yourself when you are young, lest you be weak when you are old.     

20 Do not hate a man to his face when you know nothing of him.      

21 Do not fret so long as you own something.      

22 Do not worry so long as you own something.      

23 Do not fret at all.      

24 Do not fret about your occupation.      

[7] . . .    

2 Force [your son], do not let your servant force him.      

3 Do not spare your son work when you can make him do it.      

4 Do not instruct a fool, lest he hate you.      

5 Do not instruct him who will not listen to you.      

6 Do not rely on a fool.      

7 Do not rely on the property of an idiot.      

8 Do not hide and then let yourself be found.     

9 Do not hide when you have no food.      

10 He who hides when he has no food is in the place of one who seeks it.      

11 Do not go away and then come back of your own accord.      

12 Do not run away after you have been beaten, lest your punishment be doubled.      

13 Do not insult your superior.      

14 Do not neglect to serve your god.      

15 Do not neglect to serve your master.      

16 Do not neglect to serve him who can serve you.      

17 Do not neglect to acquire a manservant and a maidservant when you are able to do so.      

18 A servant who is not beaten is full of curses in his heart.      

19 A small man with great wrath makes much stench.      

20 A great man with small wrath gets much praise.      

21 Do not say "young man" to one who is old.      

22 Do not belittle an old man in your heart.      

23 Do not speak hastily, lest you give offence.      

24 Do not say right away what comes out of your heart.     

[8] . . .      

2 Learning and foolishness belong to the people of your town; respect the people of your town.      

3 Do not say "I am learned"; set yourself to become wise.      

4 Do not do a thing that you have not first examined.      

5 Examining makes your good fortune.      

6 If you examine three wise man about a matter it is perfect; the outcome lies with the great god.      

7 Do well by your body in your days of well-being.     

8 There is no one who does not die.      

9 Do not withdraw from a scribe who is being taken to the house of detention.      

10 If you withdraw from him they will take him to his house of eternity.      

11 Do not go to court against your superior when you do not have protection [against] him.      

12 Do not take to yourself a woman whose husband is alive, lest he become your enemy.      

13 In strait times or happy times wealth grows because of spreading it.      

14 May your fate not be the fate of one who begs and is given.      

15 When you work the land do nor pamper your body.      

16 Do not say "Here is my brother's acre"; look to your own.      

17 The wealth of a town is a lord who does justice.      

18 The wealth of a temple is the priest.      

19 The wealth of a field is the time when it is worked.      

20 The wealth of a storehouse is in stocking it.      

21 The wealth of a treasury is in being in a single hand .     

22 The wealth of property is a wise woman.      

23 The wealth of a wise man is his speech.      

[9] The wealth . . .      

2 The wealth of an army is its [leader].      

3 The wealth of a town is not taking sides.      

4 The wealth of a craftsman is his equipment.      

5 Do not scorn a document that has a claim on you.      

6 Do not scorn a remedy that you can use.      

7 Do not scorn Pharaoh's business.      

8 Do not scorn a matter that concerns a cow.      

9 He who scorns matters too often will die of it.      

10 Do not quarrel over a matter in which you are wrong.      

11 Do not say "My land thrives"; do not cease to inspect it.      

12 Do not dwell in a house with your in-laws.      

13 Do not be a neighbour to your master.      

14 Do not say "I have ploughed the field but there has been no payment." Plough again, it is good to plough      

15 More joyous is the face of him who rests above the field than of him who spends the day in town.     

16 Do not say "It is summer"; there is winter too.      

17 He who does not gather wood in summer will not be warm in winter.      

18 Do not dwell in a house in which you get no income.     

19 Do not entrust your wealth to a house of profit.      

20 Do not put your wealth into a house only.      

21 Do not put your wealth in a town to which you must send.     

22 Wealth takes hold of its owner.      

23 The owner of a cow gets to run.      

24 Do not spend before you have set up your storehouse.      

25 Spend according to the size of your means.       

[10] Do not say . . .      

2 Do not say "I am good at writing" . . .      

3 A scribe in a shipyard, a craftsman in a . . .      

4 When the crocodile shows itself, its reputation is measured.      

5 A crocodile does not die of worry, it dies of hunger.      

6 "What they do insults me," says the fool when one instructs him.      

7 You may trip over your foot in the house of a great man; you should not trip over your tongue.      

8 If you are thrown out of the house of your master, be his door-keeper.      

9 If your master is sitting by the river, do not 10 immerse your hands in front of him.      

11 May my brother be a groom! When he mounts I would boast.     

12 May my companion say " Thoth knows not."      

13 May he not die for whom I would rend my clothing!     

14 May the "cider brother" of the town be the one to whom it is entrusted!      

15 May the kindly brother of the family be the one who acts as "elder brother" for it!      

16 May I have something and my brother have something, that I may eat my own without abstaining!     

17 May the floodwater never fail to come!      

18 May the field never fail to flourish!      

19 May the poor plot of land he the one that grows fodder in abundance!      

20 May the cow receive her bull!      

21 May the son do honour to his father!      

22 May it be a master's son who becomes master!      

23 May my mother be my hairdresser, so as to do for me what is pleasant!      

24 May the moon follow the sun and not fail to rise!      

25 May existence always follow death!      

[11] May I . . .      

2 May I stretch out my hand to my . . .      

3 May I get to know my neighbour, that I may give him my goods.      

4 May I get to know my brother, that I may open my heart to him.      

5 Do not be a hindrance often, lest you be cursed.      

6 Do not get drunk often, lest you go mad.      

7 Take a wife when you are twenty years old, that you may have a son while you are young.      

8 Do not kill a snake and then leave its tail.      

9 Do not hurl a lance if you cannot hold its aim.     

10 He who sends spittle up to the sky will have it fall on him.      

11 A man's character is his family.      

12 A man's character is his destiny.      

13 A man's character is on his face.      

14 A man's character is one of his limbs.      

15 The fisherman throws on board without knowing that it is the god who sends to every house.      

16 Do not stay on the road till evening, saying "I am sure of the houses." You do not know the hearts of their inhabitants.      

17 A magistrate who steals, his son will be poor.      

18 Do not tie your donkey's foot to the palm tree lest he shake it.      

19 Do not laugh at your son in front of his mother, lest you learn the size of his father.      

20 It is not of a bull that a bull is born.      

21 Do not say "The enemy of the god is alive today"; look to the end.      

22 Say "Good fate" at the end of old age.      

23 Put your affairs in the hand of the god.      

[12] Do not . . .      

2 Do not . . . suffer.      

3 Man does not know the days of his misfortune.      

4 Do not entrust your people to one who has not experienced distress .      

5 Do not delay to get yourself a tomb on the mountain; you do not know the length of your life.      

6 Do not do evil to a man and so cause another to do it to you.      

7 Do not be discouraged in a matter in which you can ask advice.      

8 Happy is the heart of him who has made a judgment before a wise man.      

9 A wise master who asks advice, his house stands forever.      

10 Disdain ruins a great man.      

11 A great crime . . . is what one despises.      

12 The work of a fool does not succeed in a house where a wise man is.      

13 Let your wife see your wealth; do not trust her with it.      

14 Do not trust her with her provisions for one year.      

15 As long as my brother does not abstain from stealing, I do not abstain from restraining him.      

16 Do not retaliate; do not let one retaliate against you.      

17 Let your benefaction reach him who has need of it.      

18 Do not be stingy; wealth is no security.      

19 Even a kind master will kill to have peace.      

20 The prudent killer does not get killed.      

21 Do not undertake a matter if you cannot carry it out.      

22 Do not speak harshly to a man if you cannot make him yield by it.      

23 Loud is the voice of him who acts {or, has acted} because he has been commanded.      

24 Do not say something when it is not the time for it.      

[13]  . . .     

2 A wise man seeks [a friend; a fool] seeks an enemy.      

3 He to whom a good deed was done in the past cannot repay it.     

4 . . .     

5 Do not give your son to the wet nurse and so cause her to set aside her own.      

6 The friend of a fool is a fool; the friend of a wise man is a wise man.      

7 The friend of an idiot is an idiot.      

8 The mother makes a child, the way makes a companion.      

9 Every man acquires property; it is a wise man who knows how to protect it.      

10 Do not hand over your property to your younger brother and thereby make him act as your elder brother.      

11 Do not prefer one of your children to another; you do not know which one of them will be kind to you.      

12 If you find your wife with her lover get yourself a bride to suit you.      

13 Do not get a maidservant for your wife if you do not have a manservant.      

14 Do not speak in two voices.      

15 Speak truth to all men; let it cleave to your speech.      

16 Do not open your heart to your wife; what you have said to her goes to the street.      

17 Do not open your heart to your wife or to your servant.      

18 Open it to your mother; she is a woman of discretion.      

19 A woman knows her own business.      

20 Instructing a woman is like having a sack of sand whose side is split open.     

21 Her savings are stolen goods.      

22 What she does with her husband today she does with another man tomorrow.     

23 Do not sit down beside your superior.      

24 Do not take a youth for your companion.      

[14] . . .      

2 He will make him give . . . while the condemnation of the god is yet after him      

3 Do not have a thief for a companion [lest] he cause you to be killed.      

4 Even a small concern has a man in its grip.     

5 Shut up a house and it will perish as a result.      

6 He who is patient in a bad situation will not be harmed by it.      

7 He who steals from the property of another will not profit by it.      

8 If you become the companion of a wise man whose heart you do not know, do not open your heart to him.      

9 If you do good to a hundred men and one of them acknowledges it, no part of it is lost.      

10 Make burnt offering and libation before the god; let the fear of him be great in your heart.      

11 A thief steals by night; he is found by day.      

12 Do not make many words.      

13 A house is open to him who has goods in his hand.      

14 He who is bitten of the bite of a snake is afraid of a coil of rope.      

15 The man who looks in front of him does not stumble and fall.      

16 Do not abandon a woman of your household when she has not conceived a child.      

17 Good fortune turns away destruction by a great god.      

18 Honour your fellow man . . .      

19 Do not let your servant lack his food and clothing.      

20 Do not cast glances at another's property lest you become poor.     

21 Do not trespass on the territory of another.      

22 Do not put a house on farmland.      

23 Do not cause a man to sue you.      

[15] Do not . . .      

2 Do not . . . something which your . . .      

3 There is no . . . reaches the sky.      

4 There is no . . . without crying.      

5 Do not say ". . . a good deed to this man but he did not acknowledge it to me."      

6 There is no good deed except a good deed which you have done for him who has need of it.      

7 If you have reached your prime and gained much property let your brothers be great with you.      

8 Need, if its condition becomes known in the street, is reckoned a disgrace.      

9 When a youth who has been taught thinks, thinking of wrong is what he does.      

10 When a man has earned his first money he spends it on drinking and eating.     

11 When a man smells of myrrh his wife is a cat before him.      

12 When a man is suffering his wife is a lioness before him.      

13 Do not be afraid to do that in which you are right.      

14 Do not commit theft; you will be found out.      

15 Do not let your son marry a woman from another town, lest he be taken from you.     

16 Muteness is better than a hasty tongue.      

17 Sitting still is better than doing a mean errand.      

18 Do not say "I undertook the matter," if you did not undertake it.      

19 Being evil will not provide for you.      

20 Gluttony will not give you food.      

21 If you are sent to get chaff and you find wheat, do not buy [it].      

22 If you trade in straw when it is wanted, you should not go around with wheat.      

23 Do not do to a man what you dislike, so as to cause another to do it to you.      

24 Do not consort with a man who is discouraged and who may say "I am discouraged right now."     

25 A hundred men are slain through one moment of discouragement.      

[16] Do not . . . [lest you be] poor forever.      

2 Do not . . .      

3 Do not let your schoolboy son go to the door of the storehouse in a lean year.      

4 Do not go to your brother when you are in distress; go to your friend.      

5 Do not drink water in the house of a merchant; he will charge you for it.     

6 Do not deliver a servant into the hand of his master.      

7 Do not say "My master dislikes me, I will not serve him."      

8 Zealous service removes dislike.      

9 Borrow money at interest and put it in farmland.      

10 Borrow money at interest and take a wife.      

11 Borrow money at interest and celebrate your birthday.      

12 Do not borrow money at interest in order to live well on it.      

13 Do not swear falsely when you are in distress, lest you become worse off than you are.      

14 Do not ask advice from the god and then neglect what he said.      

15 Do not laugh at a cat.      

16 Do not speak of Pharaoh's business when drinking beer.      

17 Do not make a judgment in which you are wrong.      

18 Do not be faint-hearted in a bad situation.      

19 Do not conceal yourself from a stranger who comes from outside.      

20 If there is nothing in your hand there may be something in his.      

21 Do not lend money at interest without obtaining a security.      

22 Do not be too trusting lest you become poor.      

23 Do not dislike one who says to you "I am your brother."      

24 If my share in my father's house is small it will not increase.     

25 Do not disdain a small document, a small fire, a small soldier.     

[17] . . .      

2 . . .      

3 [Do not] insult a woman whose husband is your subordinate.      

4 [Do not scorn] to do the work by which you can live.      

5 Do not acquire goods if you do not have a storehouse.      

6 Do not accept a gift if you are not going to make a contract.      

7 Do not say "My illness has passed, I will not use medication."      

8 Do not go away from work often, lest you become disliked.      

9 Do not cast a weary glance at the door bolt.      

10 Do not hasten when you speak before your master.      

11 Do not run too hard lest you must halt.      

12 Do not often clean yourself with water only.      

13 Water grinds the stone.      

14 Do not walk the road without a stick in your hand.      

15 Do not . . . a man before his opponent at the trial.     

16 Do not walk alone at night.      

17 Do not scorn your master before an inferior.      

18 If you have grown up with a man and are faring well with him, do not abandon him when he fares badly.      

19 Let him attain his house of eternity.      

20 He who comes after him will support you.      

21 A woman who is loved, when one abandons her she is truly abandoned.      

22 Inspect your house at all times and you will find its thief.      

23 Teach your son to write, plough, fowl and trap against a year of low Nile, so that he will reap the profit of what he has done.     

24 Gather dung, gather clay, but do not make an occupation out of scavenging.     

25 Do not talk much before your master.      

26 Be gentle and your reputation will increase in the hearts of all men.      

[18]  . . .      

2 [If] a gardener becomes a fisherman his [trees] perish.     

3 If you have acquired give one part of them for protection.      

4 [If you) work the land do not practice deception.      

5 Better an honourable failure than a half success.      

6 If you are powerful throw your documents into the river; if you are weak throw them also.      

7 If an inferior says "I will kill you," he will surely kill you.      

8 If a superior says "I will kill you," lay your head on his doorstep.      

9 Give a hundred silver pieces to a prudent woman; do not accept two hundred from a foolish one.      

10 He who battles together with the people of his town will rejoice with them.     

11 The children of the fool wander in the street, those of the wise man stand before him.     

12 He who hides from his master will get a hundred masters.      

13 A man who has no town, his character is his family.      

14 A man who has no property, his wife is his partner.      

15 Do not rejoice ih your wife's beauty; her heart is set on her lover.      

16 Do not say "I have this wealth, I will not serve god nor will I serve man."     

17 Wealth comes to an end; serving the god is what creates it.      

18 Do not send to someone whom you do not know at all.      

19 He who loves his house so as to dwell in it warms it to its beams.      

20 He who hates it builds it and mortgages it.      

21 Do not be despondent when you are ill; your landing is not made yet.     

22 Do not say "I shall give this property to this man" if you are not going to give it to him.      

23 Take a superior to your house, take an inferior to your boat.      

24 When Hapy comes he sets limits for everyone.      

25 When the fish is brought up from the water it sends him who would eat it.    

[19] . . .      

2 If you say . . .     

3 Sweeter is the water of him who has given it than the wine of him who has received it.      

4 If a cow is stolen from the field one . . . its owner to the town.      

5 If your enemy seeks you do not hide from him.      

6 If a bird flies to the place of another it will lose a feather.      

7 There is no son of Pharaoh at night.      

8 If a fool follows his heart he acts wisely.      

9 A man does not love what he hates.     

10 Do a good deed and throw it in the water; when it dries you will find it.     

11 When two brothers quarrel do not come between them.      

12 He who comes between two brothers when they quarrel will be placed between them when they are reconciled.      

13 If the daughter of the strong man is the one who eats, her rival is the daughter of the . . .      

14 If the son of the master were to act as master, the people would not worship before the god.      

15 Do not be impatient when you are suffering, so that you pray for death.      

16 He who is alive, his herb grows.     

17 There is none wretched except him who has died {or, is dying}.     

18 With a thousand servants in the merchant's house the merchant is one of them.     

19 If your master speaks wise words to you, you should fear him.      

20 A wise man is one who knows what goes on before him.      

21 Give your words with your goods, and it will make two gifts.      

22 Beer matures only on its mash.      

23 Wine matures as long as one does not open it.      

24 A remedy is effective only through the hand of its physician.      

25 If you are given bread for being stupid you may despise instruction.      

[20] . . .      

2 . . .      

3 . . .      

4 End by planting any tree, begin by planting a sycamore.      

5 The warp does not stray away from the woof.      

6 All good fortune is from the hand of the god.      

7 A single ploughing does not produce . . .      

8 A single measuring is not adequate.      

9 The hissing of the snake is more effective than the braying of the donkey.      

10 There is a running to which sitting is preferable.      

11 There is a sitting to which standing is preferable.      

12 Do not dwell in a house which is decaying; death does not say "I am coming."      

13 A snake that is eating has no venom.      

14 A window with a large opening gives more heat than coolness.      

15 All kinds of cattle are welcome in a house; a thief is not welcome.      

16 Coming close to a fool is to flee him.      

17 If you harness a big team you may lie down in its shade.      

18 Honour the old men in your heart, and you will be honoured in the hearts of all men.      

19 A woman lets herself be loved according to the character of her husband.      

20 A man does not eat what is under his eyes.      

21 Even if filled with soap, a storehouse yields a profit.      

22 The waste of a house is not dwelling in it.      

23 The waste of a woman is not knowing her.      

24 The waste of a donkey is carrying bricks.      

25 The waste of a boat is carrying straw.      

[21] There is no . . .      

2 There is no . . .     

3 There is no . . .     

4 There is no tooth that rots yet stays in place.      

5 There is no Nubian who leaves his skin.     

6 There is no friend who goes by alone.      

7 There is no wise man who comes to grief.      

8 There is no fool who finds profit.      

9 There is none who insults his superior who is not in turn insulted.      

10 There is none who abandons his traveling companion whom the god does not hold to account for it.      

11 There is none who deceives who is not deceived.      

12 There is none who sins yet goes and prospers.      

13 Do not hasten to reach a magistrate and then draw back from him.     

14 He who is ashamed to sleep with his wife will not have children.      

15 Do not be greedy, lest you be scolded.     

16 Do not be stingy, lest you be hated.      

17 Do not steal copper or cloth from the house of your master.      

18 Do not violate a married woman.      

19 He who violates a married woman on the bed will have his wife violated on the ground.      

20 Better a statue of stone than a foolish son.      

21 Better no brother than one who is evil.      

22 Better death than want.      

23 If you are thirsty at night let your mother give you to drink.      

24 Do not stay in a town in which you have no one.      

25 If you stay in a town in which you have no one, your character is your family.    

[22] . . .      

2 Do not . . .    

3 Do not start [a fire if you] can [not put] it [out].      

4 Give your daughter in marriage to a goldsmith {or, gold dealer}; [do not] give . . . [to] his daughter.      

5 He who shakes the stone will have it fall on his foot.      

6 He who makes love to a woman of the street will have his purse cut open on its side.     

7 One does not load a beam on a donkey.      

8 If a woman loves a crocodile she takes on its character.      

9 A woman at night, praise in midday.      

10 Do not slander a woman who is beloved.      

11 Do not praise a woman who is disliked.      

12 A fool wanting to go with a wise man is a goose wanting to go with its slaughter knife.      

13 A fool in a house is like fine clothes in a wine cellar.      

14 A decaying house does not get hold of a stranger.      

15 A crocodile does not get hold of a townsman.      

16 When you are hungry eat what you despise; when you are sated despise it.      

17 He who has not got his eye on the river should pay attention to the water jugs.      

18 If you come to say something to your master count on your fingers till ten.     

19 Give one loaf to your labourer, receive two from the work of his arms.      

20 Give one loaf to the one who labours, give two to the one who gives orders.      

21 Do not insult a common man.      

22 When insult occurs beating occurs.      

23 When beating occurs killing occurs.      

24 Killing does not occur without the god knowing.      

25 Nothing occurs except what the god ordains.     

[23] . . .      

2 . . .     

3  . . .     

4 Silence conceals foolishness.      

5 One uses sunlight . . .      

6 Do not make love to a married woman.      

7 He who makes love to a married woman is killed on her doorstep.      

8 It is better to dwell in your own small house than to dwell in the large house of another.      

9 Better is small wealth which is kept together than large wealth which is dispersed.      

10 A slip of the tongue in the royal palace is a slip of the helm at sea.      

11 A bull does not bellow at a calf; a great stable is not destroyed.      

12 The way of the god is before all men but the fool cannot find it.      

13 "Am I going to live?" says the dying.     

14 Every hand is stretched out to the god but he accepts only the hand of his beloved.      

15 A cat that loves fruit hates him who eats it.      

16 "Your word is my word" says the weakling.      

17 Do not be active in all sorts of business and slack in your own.      

18 He who is not slack, his father will he active for him.      

19 The builders build houses, the musicians inaugurate them.     

20 The frogs praise Hapy, the mice eat the emmer.      

21 The oxen harvest the barley and emmer, the donkeys eat it.      

22 Do not grovel before a great man.      

23 Do not drink the water of a well and then throw the pitcher into it.      

24 Belly of woman, heart of horse.     

[24] . . .      

2 . . .     

3 . . .    

4 If much wealth accrues to you . . .      

5 . . . you die.     

6 Do not marry an ailing woman.      

7 If a donkey goes with a horse it adopts its pace.      

8 If a crocodile loves a donkey it puts on a wig.     

9 One uses a horse to go after a . . . ; one does not take a donkey to attain it.     

10 Man is even more eager to copulate than a donkey; his purse is what restrains him.    

11 One gives bread to the inspector for inspecting; if he does not inspect one cuts it off.      

12 Yesterday's drunkenness does not quench today's thirst.      

13 Better to . . . hunger than to die of want.      

14 Do not be ashamed to do your . . . without blaming it.      

15 If you quarrel with your . . . do not tell him you are patient.     

16 If a town comes to . . .      

17 If a town comes to ruin . . .      

18 He who does not carry his father's wheat will carry chaff to their storehouses.     

19 Do not take charge of a matter if you cannot take charge to its end.      

20 A woman is a stone quarry; the . . . exploits her.      

21 A good woman of noble character is food that comes in time of hunger.      

22 My son is useless if I do not . . .      

23 My servant is useless if he does not do my work.      

24 My brother is useless if he does not take care of me.      

[25] . . .      

2 . . .      

3 . . .      

4 More nu[merous are the] . . . of the god . . . than the appearances of Pre in the great hall.      

5 If [a woman is at peace] with her husband it is the influences of the god.      

6 Do not sell your house and your income for the sake of one day and then be poor forever.      

7 Do not remove a common man from the property of Pharaoh, lest he destroy you and your family.      

8 Do not take . . .of a woman to your heart.      

9 She is a harmful woman who does not leave a tree undamaged.      

10 Learn how to send a report to the palace of Pharaoh.      

11 Learn how to sit in the presence of Pharaoh.      

12 Learn the constitution of the sky.      

13 Learn the constitution of the earth.      

14 May the heart of a wife be the heart of her husband, that they may be free of strife.      

15 Choose a prudent husband for your daughter; do not choose for her a rich husband.      

16 Spend one year eating what you possess, so that you spend three years . . . the bank.     

17 Do not marry an impious woman, lest she give your children an impious upbringing.      

18 If a woman is at peace with her husband they will never fare badly.      

19 If a woman whispers about her husband [they will never] fare well.      

20 If a woman does not desire the property of her husband she has another man [in her] heart.      

21 A low woman does not have a life.      

22 A bad woman does not have a husband.      

23 The wife of a fool . . .  

24 . . .       

[26] . . .      

2 . . .      

3 [There is] . . . [for throwing] a man out.      

4 There is a stick for bringing him in.      

5 There is imprisonment for giving life.      

6 There is release for killing.      

7 There is he who saves and does not profit.      

8 All are in the hand of the fate and the god.      

9 All sickness is troublesome; the wise man knows how to be sick.     

10 A deed happens to its doer.     

11 The god looks into the heart.      

12 [It is] in battle that [a man] finds a brother.      

13 It is on the road that a man finds a companion.      

14 The plans of the god are one thing, the thoughts of [men] are another.     

15 The plans of the fishermen are one thing, . . .      

16 If a merchant finds a merchant . . .      

17 There is one who ploughs yet does not [reap].      

18 There is he who reaps yet does not [eat].      

19 He whose . . .      

20 He who bears . . .      

21 He who digs a pit . . .      

22 I love my friend . . .      

23 There is no great protection . . .      

[27] . . .      

2 . . .      

3 A fool who does not know . . .      

4 Do not cause another to be well off . . . you are badly off yourself.      

5 If . . . . . . to the ground.      

6 . . .   

7 If a wife is of nobler birth than her husband he should give way to her.      

8 . . . say to him "Do not," he says "I will."      

9 If one orders you . . . your flesh . . .      

10 Another's instruction does not enter the heart of a fool; what is in his heart is in his heart.      

11 Do not say . . .      

12 . . . because of the god.      

13 A man who reviles the people of his town is wretched forever.      

14 Do not dwell in a house cursed by the god, lest his destruction turn against you.     

15 Do not . . .     

16 If one leaves a wise man . . . he perishes.      

17 If I make . . . I find my right.      

18 If I fear . . .     

19 If you do not . . .      

20 Do not . . . your enemy . . .      

21 If you . . . . . . the god.      

22 Do not call . . . if he is [not] with you.      

23 . . .     

[28] . . .      

2 Do not say "I am [rich] in goods" one greater than you.      

3 Speak kindly [to your] servants . . .      

4 Do not have a merchant for a friend ; [he] lives for taking a slice.     

5 Do not let . . . linger . . . without inquiring after her.      

6 . . .     

7 Do not often speak wrathfully to a common man, lest you be scorned.      

8 Do not often speak . . . to a common man, lest he be ruined . . .      

9 Do not . . . find out what you are doing.      

10 Do not weary of calling to the god; he has his hour for hearing the scribe.     

11 Written.  


Attalus' home page   |   17.02.20   |   Any comments?