Instructions to Kagemni


"(...) the timid man prospers, praised is the fitting, open (is) the tent to the silent, spacious is the seat of the satisfied.

Speak not (too much) ! Sharp are the knives against he who transgresses the road, (he is) without speedy advance, except when he faults.

When you sit with company, shun the food you like. Restraint of heart is (only) a brief moment ! Gluttony is base and one points the finger at it. A cup of water quenches thirst, a moutful of herbs strengthens the heart. A single good thing stands for goodness as a whole, a little something stands for much. Vile is he whose belly is voracious ; time passes and he forgets in whose house the belly strides.

When you sit with a glutton, eat when his appetite has passed. When you drink with a drunkard, partake when his heart is happy. Do not grab (your) meat by the side of a glutton, (but) take when he gives You, do not refuse it, then it will soothe. He who is blameless in matters of food, no word can prevail against him. The shy of face, even impassive of heart, the harsh is kinder to him than to his (own) mother, all people are his servants.

Let your name go forth, while you are silent with your mouth. When you are summoned, be not great of heart, because of your strength among those your age, lest you be opposed. One knows not what may happen, and what god does when he punishes.

The vizier had his children summoned, after he had gained a complete knowledge of the ways of men, their character having come upon him.

In the end he said to them : 'All that is written in this book, heed it as I said it. Do not go beyond what has been set down.'

Then they placed themselves on their bellies. They recited it aloud as it was written. It was good in their hearts beyond anything in this entire land. They stood and sat accordingly.

Then the Majesty of King Huni of Upper and Lower Egypt died. The Majesty of King Snefru of Upper and Lower Egypt was raised up as beneficient King in this entire land. Kagemni was (then) made overseer of the city and vizier.

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