Myths and Legends of Ancient Egypt

Page: 111

In the valley of the Nile there was erected a temple to Queen Hatshepsut. The temple stands to this day, and is now known as Deir-el-Bahari, the Northern Convent.

How Thoutii took the Town of Joppa

The fragments of this story are inscribed on the Harris Papyrus. Like the story of the Predestined Prince, they were discovered in 1874 by Goodwin, who recognized in them the remnants of an historical narrative, and who informed the Arch├Žological Society of his find. The beginning is lost. At the point where the narrative commences there are three characters: an Egyptian officer called Thoutii, the prince of a town in Syria, and his equerry. The tale deals with the recapture of Joppa (a town of Palestine mentioned in the Bible) by Thoutii's stratagem. The[Pg 249] stratagem employed bears some resemblance to that related in the story of the robber-captain in the Arabian Nights.

In the reign of Thothmes III, King of Egypt (Eighteenth Dynasty), the Prince of Joppa rose in rebellion and murdered all the Egyptian soldiers that were quartered in the town. This news naturally excited Pharaoh's wrath, and he called together his nobles and generals and scribes to see what could be done. None of them, however, had any suggestion to make except Thoutii, a brilliant young infantry officer.

"Give me," he begged, "your magic cane, O my king, and a body of infantry and of charioteers, and I undertake to kill the Prince of Joppa and to take the town."

Pharaoh, who esteemed this officer highly and knew his worth, granted all that he asked—not exactly a modest request, for the cane was a talisman supposed to render invisible anyone into whose possession it fell.

Thoutii then marched to Palestine with his men. Having arrived there, he had a large skin bag made, big enough to hold a man, and he had irons made for feet and hands, one pair being especially large and strong; also shackles and yokes of wood, and four hundred jars. Then he sent to the Prince of Joppa the following message: "I am Thoutii, the Egyptian infantry general. King Thothmes was jealous of my bravery and sought to kill me; but I have escaped from him, and I have stolen his magic cane, which is hidden in my baggage; and, if you like, I will give it to you, and I will join forces with you, I and my men, the pick of the Egyptian army."

This message was very pleasant news to the Prince of Joppa, for he knew Thoutii's reputation, and knew[Pg 250] that he had no equal in all Egypt. He sent to Thoutii, accepting his offer, and promising him a share of his territory. He then left Joppa, taking with him his equerry and the women and children, to greet the man whom he took to be a new and powerful ally. He welcomed him warmly, and invited him into his camp to dine with him. In course of conversation, as they were eating and drinking together, he asked Thoutii about the magic cane. Thoutii replied that it was concealed in the baggage with which his horses were laden, and requested that his men and horses should be brought into the camp to be refreshed and rested.