The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant, a work different from other genres, provides further precious clues into the nature of society and morals in the First Intermediate Period. This text is preserved only in the form of four papyrus copies dating to the end of the Twelfth and the Thirteenth Dynasties. The lack of any surviving Post-Middle Kingdom copy suggests that it did not form part of the classic scribal education.
It is perhaps possible to argue that the piece was originally composed before the Middle Kingdom. But the final argument presented by the Peasant is a recourse to Anubis, whose influence is further suggested by the name "Peasant Khuy-n-Inpu" which means "One protected by Anubis". This refers to the fact that the Egyptians no longer relied on the king's decision only, but looked also towards the Afterlife in which everyone would be required to account for their own during-life actions.
The peasant of the story, Khun-Anup, who lives during the reign of King Nebkaure Khety II was walking in the company of his donkey then both stumbled on to the lands of a nobleman called Rensi (son of Meru, the steward). Nemtynakht, the overseer of the nobleman's properties spread a sheet across the road beside the farm, forcing Khun-anup and his donkey to trample over the crops. When the donkey started to eat the grain, Nemtynakht took it over and began to beat its owner.
Afterwards, Khun-anup searched for noble Rensi and gave him an account of the incident. Khun-anup convinced the nobleman with a stunning eloquent speech. When the King heard of the speech, he was impressed and ordered the donkey to be returned to Khun-anup and the peasant to be compensated with all the property of Nemtynakht, including his job, making Nemtynakht as poor as Khun-anup had been.
The eloquence of the peasant is not simply an entertaining composition: each of his speeches in designed to express metaphorically the conflict between the negative and positive forces that were tearing the Egyptian society apart. The basic message behind the story lurks in its ending: royal power is capable of restoring harmony by punishing the evildoer.
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