The Runaway River

This is a story from Ancient Egypt. I wrote this for a class assignment so tell me what you guys think

By the way: The hieroglyphics in the cover mean gibberish. I'm not kidding! The ? mean I don't know the translation to that:

Hp?yankhnkhvtsh?rman

Not kidding, that's what it means, you can look it up if you want

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3. Cinictha

When we turned the corner and I saw his farm, I couldn’t breathe it was so beautiful. There was a waterfall falling from a cataract making the water flow gracefully into the Nile, and his house was set back a little from the bank so to avoid the yearly flooding. There were papyrus reeds surrounding the rocks and his fields of date trees were bursting with dates. I stopped everything to take in the scene; I even stopped breathing and moving. When I finally came back to my senses, I saw that he was smiling.

“I never got your name. What is it?” he asked me.

“I’m Cinictha, What’s your name?” I replied.

“I’m Akhom. You and the princess have the same name; it’s a very beautiful name by the way.”

“Thank you,” I replied, “But who do you live with? How are your parents, did you inherit the farm?” I know it was pushy, but I needed to know what I was getting myself into. As we walked, he thought about whether to answer, and what to say.

“My father died two years ago when the guards had come to collect the taxes. The Nile hadn’t flooded that year, so the crop was poor. They….” he stopped, tears almost leaking from his eyes, his voice almost breaking, “They threw him into the river.” I was so shocked that I couldn’t speak. How could they live with themselves? Throwing an innocent man into certain death?

“My mother abandoned me after that, when I was still learning how to tend to the farms at sixteen. I was left to fend for myself, but at least remembered to take my brothers…” That broke my heart. What horrible kind of mother took all her children, but one? I didn’t know, and frankly, I didn’t want to. I went over his story dozens of times, and couldn’t understand how horrible people could be. I then realized what he had just said, truly understanding that he had just opened his heart to a stranger. It must truly be a terrible, lonely life. And here I thought I had it bad, when his story should rather be a legend to frighten children into behaving. Not even mentioning the countless others like his. Outside the palace is a dark and dangerous place, I thought. I walked on; staring at the ground ahead miserably and he took an almost unnoticeable step away from me. We walked in silence the rest of the way, and thirty minutes later, we came to his farm.

“Come inside, and I will start cooking us a meal,” his kind voice and twinkle of light in his eye had returned, as if we had never said anything the whole way. I decided it was best that way.

His house was simple, but I liked it. At the palace everything was gold, bright, and big. Here it was simple, brown, small, and handmade. I looked around, taking in the peaceful home.

“So, what do you grow here? Do you have animals?” I asked, just trying to make small-talk and be friendly. Trying to not look suspicious was something I was new to, so I improvised.

“I mostly grow dates, wheat, and make a little on the side from selling the reeds to paper-makers.”

“Where is your wheat field? I did not see it on the way in.”

“Because it’s a little more valuable, I hid it among the date trees. There’s a riddle I use to remember where it is,” he pointed to a chunk of reeds broken up and placed to make horribly spelled words embedded into the wall, “I picked up a bit from sneaking around the schools.” You could tell. It was so confusing that I couldn’t read it. My eyes then wandered around the room.

“What would you like? Rice and bread, or soup and bread?” he asked, walking to the kitchen. He startled me; I was busy seeing possible escape routes if guards came or if things got… complicated. I looked at him.

 “Whatever you like, I’ll be sure to enjoy it,” I smiled. He started cooking in silence, and a few minutes later he came out with some bread on the verge of staling and some bowls of broth with little flavor. He set them down, and we sat at the table and ate. The first bites disgusted my tongue, but I held a straight face. He looked at me and I flashed a smile. Like Uga, he could see the truth, and he said, “I can tell you’re used to a higher life. Tell me, who is your father?”

“Um, Aswy, he died long ago from sickness,” I lied through my teeth. I almost used Asu’s name, but that would seem odd that I was named the same as the princess, and my “father” the same as one of the princes.

“So sorry for your loss,” he said, with every word stinging. I could lie to anyone, but with him I felt guilt. Especially because of his tragic tale….

“How is your mother holding?” he asked. I needed to get out, before I revealed too much. I quickly decided on a story to get me out.

 “Oh no! My mother! She said to be home before the moon passes over head! I must go, so sorry to cut short and thank you ever so much for the food, but she will worry.  Goodbye.” I grabbed for the door and swung it harshly open. I fled outside and ran as fast as my pampered legs could carry me. I looked over my shoulder, seeing Akhom’s loss in his eyes.

He cried, “Wait! When will I see you again? Will I ever?!” The pain was so great, that I could not answer. 

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