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Which was light so that I could carry it by myself: Gold from the land above, silver from great treasuries, And stones, chalcedonies of India and agates from Kushan. And they girded me with steel, And they took away from me the garment set with gems and spangled with gold Which they had made out of love for me And the yellow robe which was made for my size, And they made a covenant with me And wrote it in my mind that I might not forget: “If you go down to Egypt and bring the one pearl Which is in the land of the devouring serpent, You shall put on again that garment set with stones and the robe which lies over it, And with your brother, our next in command, you shall be a herald for our kingdom.” So I departed from the East on a difficult and frightening road led by two guides, And I was very young to travel on it. I passed over the borders of the Mosani, where there is the meeting­ place of the merchants of the East, And reached the land of the Baby­ lonians. I went down to Egypt, and my companions parted from me. I went straight to the serpent and stayed near his den Until he should slumber and sleep, so that I might take the pearl from him. Being alone I altered my appearance and seemed an alien even to my own people,


24 But I saw one of my kinsmen there,

a freeborn man from the East, 25 A youth fair and beautiful, the son of

courtiers. 26 He came and kept me company. 27 And I made him my intimate friend,




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a comrade with whom I commu­ nicated my business. Being exhorted to guard against the Egyptians and against partaking of unclean things, I clothed myself in garments like theirs, so that I would not be seen as a stranger And as one who had come from abroad to take the pearl, Lest the Egyptians might arouse the serpent against me. But somehow they learned that I was not their countryman. They dealt with me treacherously, and I tasted their food. I no longer recognized that I was a king’s son, and I served their king. I forgot the pearl for which my parents had sent me. And I fell into a deep sleep because of the heaviness of their food. While I was suffering these things my parents were aware of it and grieved over me, And a proclamation was heralded in our kingdom that all should present themselves at our doors. The kings of Parthia and those in office, and the great men of the East Resolved that I should not be left in Egypt. So the courtiers wrote me a letter: “From your father the king of kings and your mother, the mistress of the East And their brothers, who are second to us, To our son in Egypt, greetings!

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