The Cat of Bubastes by G. A. Henty

The Cat of Bubastes

A Tale of Ancient Egypt

subjects: Historical Fiction, Children's Fiction: Classic Fiction

Description

The sacred cat of Bubastes has accidentally been slain; now young Chebron must pay for the offence with his own life, as this is the law of the Pagans in Egypt, 1250 BC. Chebron, the son of a high Egyptian priest, flees for his life taking his sister Mysa, one of the household slaves Amuba and several companions with him. They escape through closely guarded Egyptian exits only to find themselves in unfamiliar and dangerous lands inhabited by a very different culture of people. Along the way, the roving band of refugees encounters and befriends a Hebrew girl, who exposes them to very strange ideas including the worship of “one true God.” This arduous journey through time, customs and religion provides an adventurous and accurate insight into the ancient people of Egyptian history.

Excerpt

The sun was blazing down upon a city on the western shore of the Caspian. It was a primitive city, and yet its size and population rendered it worthy of the term. It consisted of a vast aggregation of buildings, which were for the most part mere huts. Among them rose, however, a few of more solid build and of higher pretensions. These were the abodes of the chiefs and great men, the temples, and places of assembly. But although larger and more solidly built, these buildings could lay no claim to architectural beauty of any kind, but were little more than magnified huts, and even the king’s palace was but a collection of such buildings closely adjoining each other.

The town was surrounded by a lofty wall with battlements and loopholes, and a similar but higher wall girt in the dwellings of the king and of his principal captains. The streets were alive with the busy multitude; and it was evident that although in the arts of peace the nation had made but little progress, they had in every thing appertaining to war made great advances. Most of the men wore helmets closely fitting to the head and surmounted by a spike. These were for the most part composed of hammered brass, although some of the headpieces were made of tough hide studded with knobs of metal. All carried round shields—those of the soldiers, of leather stiffened with metal; those of the captains, of brass, worked with considerable elaboration.

In their belts all wore daggers, while at their backs were slung quivers of iron; painted bows hung over one shoulder, and some had at their waist a pouch of smooth flat stones and leather slings. Their chief garment was a sort of kilt falling to the knee. Above the waist some wore only a thin vest of white linen, others a garment not unlike the nightgown of modern times, but with short sleeves. The kilt was worn over this. Some had breastpieces of thick leather confined by straps behind; while in the case of the officers the leather was covered with small pieces of metal, forming a cuirass.