The letter of the "riddles" is shown to Ahikar. The boys on the eagles. The first "airplane" ride. Off to Egypt. Ahikar, being a man of wisdom also has a sense of humor. (Verse 27).
AND he did as the king commanded him, and took rest for forty days.
2 Then he dressed himself his gayest dress, and went riding to the king, with his slaves behind him and before him, rejoicing and delighted.
3 But when Nadan his sister's son perceived what was happening, fear took hold of him and terror, and he was perplexed, not knowing what to do.
4 And when Haiqâr saw it he entered into the king's presence and greeted him, and he returned the greeting, and made him sit down at his side, saying to him,
'O my darling Haiqâr! look at these letters which the, king of Egypt sent to us, after he had heard that thou wast slain.
5 They have provoked us and overcome us, and many of the people of our country have fled to Egypt for fear of the taxes that the king of Egypt has sent to demand from us.
6 Then Haiqâr took the letter and read it and understood its contents.
7 Then he said to the king. 'Be not wroth, O my lord! I will go to Egypt, and I will return the answers to Pharaoh, and I will display this letter to him, and I will reply to him about the taxes, and I will send back all those who have run away; and I will put thy enemies to shame with the help of the Most High God, and for the Happiness of thy kingdom.'
8 And when the king heard this speech from Haiqâr he rejoiced with a great joy, and his heart was expanded and he showed him favour.
9 And Haiqâr said to the king: 'Grant me a delay of forty days that I may consider this question and manage it.' And the king permitted this.
10 And Haiqâr went to his dwelling, and he commanded the huntsmen to capture two young eaglets for him, and they captured them and brought them to him: and he commanded the weavers of ropes to weave two cables of cotton for him, each of them two thousand cubits long, and he had the carpenters brought and ordered them to make two great boxes, and they did this.
11 Then he took two little lads, and spent every day sacrificing lambs and feeding the eagles and the boys, and making the boys ride on the backs of the eagles, and he bound them with a firm knot, and tied the cable to the feet of the eagles,
Click to enlarge
(See page 259 et seq.)
and let them soar upwards little by little every day, to a distance of ten cubits, till they grew accustomed and were educated to it; and they rose all the length of the rope till they reached the sky; the boys being on their backs. Then he drew them to himself.
12 And when Haiqâr saw that his desire was fulfilled he charged the boys that when they were borne aloft to the sky they were to shout, saying:
13 'Bring us clay and stone, that we may build a castle for king Pharaoh, for we are idle.'
14 And Haiqâr was never done training them and exercising them till they had reached the utmost possible point (of skill).
15 Then leaving them he went to the king and said to him, 'O my lord! the work is finished according to thy desire. Arise with me that I may show thee the wonder.'
16 So the king sprang up and sat with Haiqâr and went to a wide place and sent to bring the eagles and the boys, and Haiqâr tied them and let them off into the air all the length of the ropes, and they began to shout as he had taught them. Then he drew them to himself and put them in their places.
17 And the king and those who were with him wondered with a great wonder: and the king kissed Haiqâr between his eyes and said to him, 'Go in peace, O my beloved! O pride of my kingdom! to Egypt and answer the questions of Pharaoh and overcome him by the strength of the Most High God.'
18 Then he bade him farewell, and took his troops and his army and the young men and the eagles, and went towards the dwellings of Egypt; and when he had arrived, he turned towards the country of the king.
19 And when the people of Egypt knew that Sennacherib had sent a man of his Privy Council to talk with Pharaoh and to answer his questions, they carried the news to king Pharaoh, and he sent a party of his Privy Councillors to bring him before him.
20 And he came and entered into the presence of Pharaoh, and did obeisance to him as it is fitting to do to kings.
21 And he said to him: 'O my lord the king! Sennacherib the king hails thee with abundance of peace and might, and honour.
22 And he has sent me, who am one of his slaves, that I may answer thee thy questions, and may fulfil all thy desire: for thou hast sent to seek from my lord the king a man who will build thee a castle between the heaven and the earth.
23 And I by the help of the Most High God and thy noble favour and the power of my lord the king will build it for thee as thou desirest.
24 But, O my lord the king! what thou hast said in it about the taxes of Egypt for three years--now the stability of a kingdom is strict justice, and if thou winnest and my hand hath no skill in replying to thee, then my lord the king will send thee the taxes which thou hast mentioned.
25 And if I shall have answered thee in thy questions, it shall remain for thee to send whatever thou hast mentioned to my lord the king.'
26 And when Pharaoh heard that speech, he wondered and was perplexed by the freedom of his tongue and the pleasantness of his speech.
27 And king Pharaoh said to him, 'O man! what is thy name?' And he said, 'Thy servant is Abiqâm, and I a little ant of the ants of king Sennacherib.'
28 And Pharaoh said to him, 'Had thy lord no one of higher
dignity than thee, that he has sent me a little ant to reply to me, and to converse with me?'
29 And Haiqâr said to him, 'O my lord the king! I would to God Most High that I may fulfil what is on thy mind, for God is with the weak that He may confound the strong.'
30 Then Pharaoh commanded that they should prepare a dwelling for Abiqâm and supply him with provender, meat, and drink, and all that he needed.
31 And when it was finished, three days afterwards Pharaoh clothed himself in purple and red and sat on his throne, and all his viziers and the magnates of his kingdom were standing with their hands crossed, their feet close together, and their heads bowed.
32 And Pharaoh sent to fetch Abiqâm, and when he was presented to him, he did obeisance before him, and kissed the ground in front of him.
33 And king Pharaoh said to him, 'O Abiqâm, whom am I like? and the nobles of my kingdom, to whom are they like?'
34 And Haiqâr said to him, 'O my lord the kin I thou art like the idol Bel, and the nobles of thy kingdom are like his servants.'
35 He said to him, 'Go, and come back hither to-morrow.' So Haiqâr went as king Pharaoh had commanded him.
36 And on the morrow Haiqâr went into the presence of Pharaoh, and did obeisance, and stood before the king. And Pharaoh was dressed in a red colour, and the nobles were dressed in white.
37 And Pharaoh said to him 'O Abiqâm, whom am I like? and the nobles of my kingdom, to whom are they like?'
38 And Abiqâm said to him, 'O my lord! thou art like the sun, and thy servants are like its beams.' And Pharaoh said to him, 'Go to thy dwelling, and come hither to-morrow.'
39 Then Pharaoh commanded his Court to wear pure white, and Pharaoh was dressed like them and sat upon his throne, and he commanded them to fetch Haiqâr. And he entered and sat down before him.
40 And Pharaoh said to him, 'O Abiqâm, whom am I like? and my nobles, to whom are they like?'
41 And Abiqâm said to him, 'O my lord! thou art like the moon, and thy nobles are like the planets and the stars.' And Pharaoh said to him, 'Go, and to-morrow be thou here.'
42 Then Pharaoh commanded his servants to wear robes of various colours, and Pharaoh wore a red velvet dress, and sat on his throne, and commanded them to fetch Abiqâm. And he entered and did obeisance before him.
43 And he said, 'O Abiqâm, whom am I like? and my armies, to whom are they like?' And he said, 'O my lord! thou art like the month of April, and thy armies are like its flowers.'
44 And when the king heard it he rejoiced with a great joy and said, 'O Abiqâm! the first time thou didst compare me to the idol Bel, and my nobles to his servants.
45 And the second time thou didst compare me to the sun, and my nobles to the sunbeams.
46 And the third time thou didst compare me to the moon, and my nobles to the planets and the stars.
47 And the fourth time thou didst compare me to the month of April, and my nobles to its flowers. But now, O Abiqâm! tell me, thy lord, king Sennacherib, whom is he like? and his nobles, to whom are they like?'
48 And Haiqâr shouted with a loud voice and said: 'Be it far from me to make mention of
my lord the king and thou seated on thy throne. But get up on thy feet that I may tell thee whom my lord the king is like and to whom his nobles are like.'
49 And Pharaoh was perplexed by the freedom of his tongue and his boldness in answering. Then Pharaoh arose from his throne, and stood before Haiqâr, and said to him, 'Tell me now, that I may perceive whom thy lord the king is like, and his nobles, to whom they are like.'
50 And Haiqâr said to him: 'My lord is the God of heaven, and his nobles are the lightnings and the thunder, and when he wills the winds blow and the rain falls.
51 And he commands the thunder, and it lightens and rains, and he holds the sun, and it gives not its light, and the moon and the stars, and they circle not.
52 And he commands the tempest, and it blows and the rain falls and it tramples on April and destroys its flowers and its houses.'
53 And when Pharaoh heard this speech, he was greatly perplexed and was wroth with a great wrath, and said to him: 'O man! tell me the truth, and let me know who thou really art.'
54 And he told him the truth. 'I am Haiqâr the scribe, greatest of the Privy Councillors of king Sennacherib, and I am his vizier and the Governor of his kingdom, and his Chancellor.'
55 And he said to him, 'Thou hast told the truth in this saying. But we have heard of Haiqâr, that king Sennacherib has slain him, yet thou dost seem to be alive and well.'
56 And Haiqâr said to him, 'Yes, so it was, but praise be to God, who knoweth what is hidden, for my lord the king commanded me to be killed, and he believed the word of profligate men, but the Lord delivered me, and blessed is he who trusteth in Him.'
57 And Pharaoh said to Haiqâr, 'Go, and to-morrow be thou here, and tell me a word that I have never heard from my nobles nor from the people of my kingdom and my country.'