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Teaching of Khety - the 'Satire of Trades'

Transliteration after Helck 1970a, using the copy on Papyrus Sallier II as principal source. The section divisions are those of Helck 1970: after each section number are given the corresponding line-numbers in Papyrus Sallier II.

Transliteration (using A, i, y, a, w, b, p, f, m, n, r, h, H, x, X, s, S, q, k, g, t, T, d, D) with translation

red: part of the text written in red in Papyrus Sallier II

blue: link to comments

1 (Papyrus Sallier II, column III, line 9 to column IV, 1)

HAt-a m sbAyt irt.n s n TArw dwAw Xty rn.f n sA.f ppy rn.f
ist r.f m xntyt r Xnw
r rdit.f m at sbA nt sSw
m qAb msw srw imyw-HAt nt Xnw

Beginning of the teaching made by the man of Tjaru (?) called Duau Khety for his son called Pepy
It was while he was sailing south to the Residence
to place him in the writing school
among the children of officials, of the foremost of the Residence

2 (Papyrus Sallier II, column IV, lines 1 to 4)

aHa.n Dd.n.f n.f
mAA.n.i qnqnw
dd.k ib.k m-sA sSw
dgA.n.i nHm Hr bAkw.f
mk nn wn m HA sSw
mitt hr mw pw
Sd r.k pHwy kmyt
gmy.k Ts pn im.s m Dd
ir sS m st.f nbt nt Xnw
nn Hwr.f im.f

He said to him
I have seen violent beatings:
so direct your heart to writing.
I have witnessed a man seized for his labour
Look, nothing excels writing
It is like a loyal man.
Read for yourself the end of the Compilation
and you can find this phrase in it saying
'The scribe, whatever his place at the Residence
He cannot be poor in it'

3 (Papyrus Sallier II, column IV, lines 4 to 6)

iw.f ir.f sArt n ky
nn pr.f Htpw
n mAA.n.i iAt m mitt.s
m Ddt Ts pn im.s
di.i mry.k sSw r mwt.k
di.i aq nfrw.s m Hr.k
wr sw grt r iAt nbt
nn wn mitt.s m tA
SAa.n.f wAD iw.f m Xrd
tw r nD xrt.f
tw r hAb.f r irt wpwt
nn iy.f sw sd.f m dAiw

He accomplishes the wish of another
when he is not succeeding
I do not see a profession like it
that you could say that phrase for,
so I would have you love writing more than your mother
and have you recognise its beauty
For it is greater than any profession,
there is none like it on earth
He has just begun growing, and is just a child,
when people will greet him (already).
He will be sent to carry out a mission,
and before he returns, he is clothed in linen (like an adult man)

4. (Papyrus Sallier II, column IV, lines 6 to 8)

n mAA.n.i gnwty m wpwt
nbwy n bAk (?) hAb.f
iw mAA.n.i Hmtyw Hr bAkw.f
r r n Hryt.f
Dbaw.fy mi xrt msHw
xnS sw r swHt rmw

I do not see a sculptor on a mission
or a goldsmith on the task of being despatched (?)
but I see the coppersmith at his toil
at the mouth of his furnace
his fingers like crocodile skin
his stench worse than fish eggs

5. (Papyrus Sallier II, column IV, line 8 to column V, line 1)

Hmww nb TAy ant
wrd sw r mny
AHwt.f m xt
Hnw.f m Hmt
m grH nHm.f
ir.n.f m HAw nw awy.fy Hr irt
m grH stA.f

Any craftsman using a chisel
is more exhausted than a labourer.
His fields are the timber,
his plough the metal.
No nightfall rescues him,
when he has done in excess of his arms in production;
In night he has to kindle a light

6. (Papyrus Sallier II, column V, lines 1 to 3)

ms-aAt Hr whb m mnx
m aAt nbt rwd
qn.n.f mH nw Axt
awy.fy Aqw n wrd.f
iw Hms.f Hr aqw nw ra
mAsty.fy At.f waf

The jeweller drills in bead-making
using all of the hardest hard stones.
When he has completed the inlays,
his arms are destroyed by his exhaustion.
He sits at the food of Ra
with his knees and back hunched double.

7. (Papyrus Sallier II, column V, lines 3 to 5)

Xaqw Hr Xaq m pHwy mSrw
dd.f sw n amyt dd.f sw Hr qaH.f
dd.f sw m mrt r mrt
r wxA r Xaq.f sw
qnn.f awy.fy r mH Xt.f
mi bit wnmw r kAt.s

The barber shaves into the end of the evening
continually at the call, continually on his elbow,
pushing himself continually from street to street
looking for people to shave.
He does violence to his arms to fill his belly,
like bees that eat at their toil.

8. (Papyrus Sallier II, column V, lines 5 to 6)

bTy xd.f r idHw
r iT n.f swnw
ir.n.f m HAw nw awy.fy Hr irt
smA.n sw xnmsw
xmyw sfd.n sw snny
xr wnn.f wDa

The reedcutter sails north to the marshes
to take for himself the shafts (?).
When he has exceeded the power of his arms in action,
When the mosquitoes have slaughtered him
and the gnats have cut him down too,
then he is broken in two.

9. (Papyrus Sallier II, column V, lines 5 to 6)

iqd nDs Xr AHwt.f
saHa.f m anxw
xm sw r SAwt r SAiw
r pst Xr AHwt.f
Hbsw.f nxt m dbn
aAgsw.f m stp
r aq TAw r fnd.f
pr m tA.f wDA
ir.n.f ty m rdwy.fy
sHm im.f Ds.f
xm hi n pr nb
Hw n iwyt.f

The small potter is under his earth
even when he is stood among the living.
He is muddier with clay than swine
to burn under his earth.
His clothes are solid as a block
and his headcloth is rags,
until the air enters his nose
coming from his furnace direct.
When he has made the pestle out of his legs,
the pounding is done with himself,
smearing the fences of every house,
and beaten by his streets.

10. (Papyrus Sallier II, column VI, lines 1 to 3)

Dd.i n.k mi qd inbw
mr dpt
xr wnn.f m rwty n smAat
iqd.f m dAiw
aAgsw m sSny nAyt
r wAww n pHwy.fy
awy.fy Aq m mnx
Sbn Hsw.f nb
wnm.f t Dbaw.f
ia.f sw Hr tr wa

Let me tell you what it is like to be a bricklayer
the bitterness of the taste.
He has to exist outside in the wind,
building in his kilt,
his robes a cord from the weaving-house
stretching round to his back.
His arms are destroyed by hard labour.
mixed in with all his filth.
He eats the bread with his fingers
though he can only wash the once.

11. (Papyrus Sallier II, column VI, lines 3 to 5)

Xs n mDH n Dri.f r-sy
snn Sp m at m at nt mH 10 r mH 6
snn Sp m Abd m-sA wAH sbw m sSny nAyt
irw kAt.s nbt
ir aqw dd.tw.f n.f
nn pnq Xrdw.f

For the carpenter with his chisel (life) is utterly vile
covering the roof in a chamber, measuring ten cubits by six.
to cover the roof in a month after laying the boards with cord of the weaving-house
All the work on it is done,
but the food given for it
couldn't stretch to his children.

12. (Papyrus Sallier II, column VI, lines 5 to 8)

kAry Hr inn mAHD
qah.f nb Hr tnw
at wrt Hr nHbt.f
iw.s Hr irt ad
sdwA.f Hr iwH iAqt mSrw.f Hr SAwt
ir.n.f Hr hrw
m-sA Xt.f bin
xpr xnw.f mwt.f Hr rn.f
tnw r iAt nbt

The gardener has to carry a rod
and all his shoulder bones age,
and there is a great blister on his neck,
oozing puss.
He spends his morning drenching leeks, his evening in the mire.
He has spent over a day,
after his belly is feeling bad.
So it happens that he rests dead to his name
aged more than any other profession.

13. (Papyrus Sallier II, column VI, line 8 to column VII, line 2)

aHwty Hr Hbt r nHH
qA xrw.f r abw
Dbaw.fy irw m aAwt
Xr HAw nb n stnw
wrd sw r mtn r idHw
xr wnn.f m stp
wDA.f wDA m mAiw
mr r DbAw ir.f
hAw.f im m xmt.n.sn
prr.f im
spr.f r pr.f ind
mDd.n sw Hr Smt

The field labourer complains eternally
his voice rises higher than the birds,
with his fingers turned into sores,
from carrying overloads of produce (?).
He is too exhausted to report for marsh work,
and has to exist in rags.
His health is the health on new lands;
sickness is his reward.
His state work there is whatever they have forgotten.
If he can ever escape from there,
he reaches his home in utter poverty,
downtrodden too much to walk.

14. (Papyrus Sallier II, column VII, lines 2 to 4)

qny m-Xnw nAyt
bin sw r st Hmt
mAsty.fy r r n ib.f
nn tpi n.f TAw
ir xbA.n.f hrw nn sxt
Hw.tw.f m Ssm 50
iw.f di.f aqw n iry-aA
r dit pr.f r HDwt

The mat-weaver (lives) inside the weaving-house
he is worse off than a woman,
with his knees up to his stomach,
unable to breathe in any air.
If he wastes any daytime not weaving,
he is beaten with 50 lashes.
He has to give a sum to the doorkeeper
to be allowed to go out to the light of day.

15. (Papyrus Sallier II, column VII, lines 4 to 6)
irw aHAw sfn.f r-sy
Hr prt r xAst
iw wr dd.f n aAt.f
r kAt r-sA iry
iw wr dd.f n imy SA
ddy sw Hr wAt
spr.f r pr.f mSrw
wDa.n sw Smt

The weapon-maker is denigrated utterly
going out to the hill-land.
What he give to his ass is greater
than the work that results,
and great is his gift to the man in the country
who puts him on the track.
He reaches his home in the evening,
and the travelling has broken him in two.

16. (Papyrus Sallier II, column VII, lines 6 to 8)

sxxty Hr prt r xAst
swD.n.f Axt.f n msw.f
snd Hr mAiw Hna aAmw
rx.f sw r.f iw.f Hr kmt
(spr.f r pr.f mSrw
wDa.n sw Smt)
iw pr.f m dAiw m Dbt
nn iy snDm-ib

The trader goes out to the hill-land
after bequeathing his goods to his children,
fearful of lions and Asiatics.
He recognises himself again, when he is in Egypt
(He reaches his home in the evening,
and the travelling has broken him in two.)
His house is of cloth for bricks,
without experiencing any pleasure.

17. (Papyrus Sallier II, column VII, line 9 to column VIII, line 1)

stny Dbaw.fy HwAw
sty iry m XAwt
irty.fy wHf m wr stAw
nn xsf.f stn.f
wrS.f m Sad n ist
bwt.f pw Hbsw.f

The stny-worker, his fingers are rotted,
the smell of them is as corpses,
and his eyes are wasted by the mass of flame.
He can never be rid of his stn,
spending his day cut by the reed;
his own clothing is his horror.

18. (Papyrus Sallier II, column VIII, lines 1 to 2)

Tbww bin sw r-sy
xr dbHt.f r nHH
wDA.f wDA m XAwt
psH.f m mskA.f

The sandalmaker is utterly the worst off
with his stocks of more than oil.
His health is health as corpses,
as he bites into his skins.

19. (Papyrus Sallier II, column VIII, lines 2 to 6)

rxty Hr rxt Hr mryt
sAH-tA m xntyw
pr it Hr mw pA ad
xr sA.f sAt.f
nn iAt Htp Hr.s
tnw r iAT nbt
Sbb Sbnw Hr st Hsw
nn at wabt im.f
dd.f sw m dAiw n st Hmt
wnnt m Hsmn.s
rmyt n.f wrS Xr mqAnt
iw inr Hr.f
Dd.tw n.f SAm ms.tw r.i
sxr spty ir.k

The washerman does the laundry on the shore
neighbour to the crocodiles.
'Father is going to the water of the canal (?)',
he says to his son and his daughter.
Is this not a profession to be glad for,
more choice than any other profession?
The food is mixed with places of filth,
and there is no pure limb on him.
He puts on the clothing of a woman
who was in her menstruation.
Weep for him, spending the day with the washing-rod,
with the cleaning-stone upon him.
He is told 'dirty washbowl, come here,
the fringes are still to be done!'

20. (Papyrus Sallier II, column VIII, lines 6 to 7)

wHa Apdw sfn r-sy
Hr gmH iryw pt
ir swA Apdw Xnmw m Hr.f
xr.f Dd.f Hanr n.i m iAdt
nn rdi.n nTr xpr m-a.f
sfn.f Hr sxrw.f

The bird-catcher is the most utterly miserable
looking out for the keepers of the sky.
If the bird swarm passes over him,
he is left saying 'I wish I had the net'.
The god would not allow it to happen by him;
he is made miserable by his condition.

21. (Papyrus Sallier II, column VIII, line 8 to column IX, line 2)

Dd.i n.k mi wHa rmw
sfn.f r iAt nbt
wn bAkw.f Hr itrw
Sbnw Hna msHw
ir xpr n.f dmdyt nt ipt.f
xr wnn.f Hr nxw
nn Dd n.f iw msHw aHa
Sp.n sw sndw.f
ir pr.f Hr mw pw pA adw
xr.f mi bAw nTr
mk nn iAt Sw m xrpw
wp-Hr sS ntf pw xrp

Let me tell you what (the life of) the bird-catcher is like
he is more miserable than any other profession.
His toil is on the river,
mixed in with the crocodiles.
When the collection of his dues takes place,
then he is always in lament.
He can never be told 'there are crocodiles surfacing':
his fear has blinded him.
If he goes out, it is on the water of the canal,
he is as at a miracle.
Look, there is no profession free of directors,
except the scribe - he IS the director.

22. (Papyrus Sallier II, column IX, lines 2 to 5)

ir swt rx.k sSw
wn nfr n.k st r nA n iAwt dd.i m Hr.k
mk iry Hwrw.f iry
nn Dd n.f aHwty s
m sAw ir.k
mk ir st m xntyt r Xnw
mk ir st n mry.k
Ax n.k hrw m at sbA
iw r nHH kAt.s Dww
iw.s As sp sn di.i rx.k
di.i mry snhp btnw

If, though, you know how to write
that is better life for you than these professions I show you;
protector of the worker, or his wretch the worker?
The field labourer of a man cannot say to him
'do not watch over (me)'.
Look, the trouble of sailing south to the Residence,,
look, it is trouble for love of you.
A day in the school chamber is more useful for you
than an eternity of its toil in the mountains.
It is the fast way, I show you.
Or should I inspire desire for being woken at dawn to be bruised?

23. (Papyrus Sallier II, column IX, lines 5 to 7)

Dd.i n.k mi ktxw mdwt
mi aHa r bw aHA.tw.k
m tkn dbt Hr sxrw (?)
ir TAy.tw dbt Hr As-ib
nn rx.tw bw xsf srf
mtr xr sDmyw
ir n.f wSb wDfA

Let me tell you in another manner
how to rise at being fought.
Do not approach the ...
If the ... is taken up at the hasty-hearted,
none would know of suppression of the fiery.
Give witness before those hearing (the case);
and make a reply to him with (due) pause.

24. (Papyrus Sallier II, column IX, lines 7 to 9)

ir Sm.k m pHwy srw
m tkn wAw m xrt nfrt
ir aq.k iw nb pr m pr.f
iw bw awy.fy n ky r HAt.k
iw Hms.k drt.k m r.k
m dbH Axt r-gs.f
ir n.f mi Ddt im
m sAw Tst r Tt

If you are walking behind officials
do not come too close in good bearing.
If you enter when the lord of the house is at home,
and his arms are extended to another before you,
You are to be seated with your hand on your mouth.
Do not request anything beside him,
but react to him when addressed,
and avoid joining the table.

25. (Papyrus Sallier II, column IX, line 9 to column X, line 1)

dns im.k wr Sfyt
m Dd mdt n HAp
iw HAp Xt ir n.f ikm
m Dd mdt n pr-ib
iw Hms tw Hna ksm-ib

Be serious with anyone greater in dignity
Do not speak matters of secrecy,
for the secretive is the one who can shield himself
Do not speak matters of boasting,
but take your seat with the reliable.

26. (Papyrus Sallier II, column X, lines 2 to 3)

ir pr.k m at sbA
m-xt smi.tw n.k mtrt
Hr Smt iyt m iwyt
DAis n.k pHwy n bw n.k st

If you come out from the school chamber
when you have been told the midday hour,
for coming and going in the streets
Debate for yourself the end of the place ... (?)

27. (Papyrus Sallier II, column X, lines 3 to 4)

ir hAb tw sr m wpwt
Dd.f mi Dd.f sw
m iT m rdit Hr.s
iw xAa.f hAnw
nn rn.f wAH
iw.f arq m biAt.f nbt
nn wn imn r.f
nn tn.f r st.f nbt

If an official sends you on a mission
say it exactly as he says it,
without omission, without adding to it.
Whoever leaves out the declamation (?),
his name shall not endure,
but whoever completes with all his talent,
nothing will be kept back from him,
he will not be parted from all his places.

28. (Papyrus Sallier II, column X, lines 4 to 6)

m Dd grg r mwt
Abw srw pw
ir m-xt xpr
awy.fy twt rdi ib sfn.f
m rdi Hr.s Hna ksm
iw Xsy sw r Xt sDm.tw n.k
ir sA tw t
sam hnw 2 n Hnqt
nn Dr Xt aHA Hr.s
ir sA.tw n ky m aH
sAw Tst r Tt

Do not tell lies against a mother
- that is the extreme for the officials.
If it has happened,
his arms are mustered, and the heart has made him weak,
do not add to it with meekness.
That is worse for the belly, when you have heard.
If bread satisfies you,
and drinking two jars of beer,
there is no limit for the belly one would fight for;
if another is satisfied standing up,
avoid joining the table.

29. (Papyrus Sallier II, column X, line 7 to column XI, line 1)

mk hAb.k aSAt
sDm.k mdt srw
ix iry.k qi msw rmT
iw.k Hr Smt m iT.s
mAA.n.tw sS Hr sDm
xpr sDm pr-a
aHA.k mdt nt r.s
Ast rdwy.k iw.k Hr Smt
nn kfA ib.k
smA mtn r.s
xnmsw s DAmw.k

Look, you send out the throng,
you hear the words of officials,
Behave then like the children of (important) people,
when you are going to collect them.
The scribe is the one seen hearing (cases);
Would fighters be the ones to hear?
Fight words that are contrary;
move fast when you are proceeding -
your heart should never trust.
Keep to the paths for it:
the friends of a man are your troops.

30. (Papyrus Sallier II, column XI, lines 1-4)

mk rnnt Hr wAt nTr
rnnt sS Hr qaH.f
hrw n mst.f
spr.f aryt
tA qnbt ir n.f rmT
mk nn wn sS Sw m wnm
Axt nt pr nswt anx wDA snb
msxnt wADt nt sS
ddy Xr-HAt qnbt
dwA nTr it mwt.k
ddy Hr wAt nt anxw
mk nn rdi.i m Hr.k
msw n msw.k


Look - Abundance is on the path of the god
and Abundance is written on his shoulder
on the day of his birth.
He reaches the palace portal,
and that court of officials is the one allotting people to him.
Look, no scribe will ever be lacking in food
or the things of the House of the King, may he live, prosper and be well!
Meskhenet is the prosperity of the scribe,
the one placed before the court of officials.
Thank god for the father, and for your mother,
you who are placed on the path of the living.
See what I have set out before you,
and for the children of your children.

End note (Papyrus Sallier, column XI, line 5)

iw.s pw nfr m Htp

This is its end, perfect, in harmony


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