Story//

This story is part of an ancient Egyptian text known as ‘The teaching of Duaf’s son Khety’. A father is taking his son to scribe school where the boy will learn how to read and write. The father is telling his son why being a scribe is the best profession in the world. He emphasises how good the life of a scribe is by comparing it to the lives of craftsmen and others.

Although the father speaks badly of the other professions, he probably does not mean it as strongly as it sounds. More likely, he is making it seem that life is very bad for other people so that he can convince his son to become a scribe

Story//

The teaching of Duaf’s son Khety ‘

‘I will make you love writing more than your mother,
I will show its beauties to you;
Now, it is greater than any trade,
There is not one like it in the land

Story//

The teaching of Duaf’s son Khety ‘


Metal-workers.
…I have seen the metal-worker working
At the mouth of his furnace;
With fingers like the stuff of a crocodile
He stinks more than fish eggs.

Story//

The teaching of Duaf’s son Khety ‘


Carpenters working.
The carpenter who uses an adze,
He is more tired than a worker in the fields;
His field is the wood, his hoe the adze.
His work is endless…

Story//

The teaching of Duaf’s son Khety ‘


Jewellery workshop.
The jeweller drills with his chisel
In different kinds of stone;
Once he is done with the inlay of the eyes
His arms are weary, he is tired;
Sitting down at sunset,
His knees and back ache.

Story//

The teaching of Duaf’s son Khety ‘


Razor, comb, tweezers and other grooming tools.
The barber is still shaving at the end of the day,
To the town he takes himself,
To his corner he takes himself,
From street to street he takes himself
To search for people to shave.
He works with his arms to fill his belly,
Like a bee which can only eat as it has worked.

Story//

The teaching of Duaf’s son Khety ‘


A statue of a scribe.
Look, no trade is free from a director,
Except the scribe’s: he is the director.
But if you know writings, it will be better for you,
More than these trades I have shown you
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