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Thirdly, Consequently this entering into the Nile, on these occasions, is not so much with a naturally purifying or refreshing view, but to express their veneration for that river, when they find it apparently risen, and about to distribute its important benefits to Egypt. The Indian women that go into the Ganges, to purify themselves, are 'stripped, we are told, though it is done with such art and quickness, as to be as little injurious to modesty as possible ; but these Egyptian Arabs do not strip, consequently they go not into the water for purifying. The heat of those sultry countries make the bathing in cold water very pleasing, but we do not find, I think, that they go into cold water with their clothes on, in order to render the coolness more lasting, and especially would they not do so that go into the cold water in the evening. It was done then, from devotion, or veneration. So, according to Pitts, many of the devout Mohammedans that visit Mecca, have five or six buckets of the sacred water there poured upon their heads, not properly for the purifying themselves, nor for refreshment from the heat, but from devotion.
Fourthly, Though they are only dancing girls, or public women now, so far as appears by this account, that go into the Nile upon the rising of its waters; an Egyptian princess, in ancient times, when the Nile was adored as a deity, might enter it, at that time of the year,
. P. 135.
with music and singing. So king David did not disdain to dance before the ark of God, though it was an action that Michal, Saul's daughter, thought would better have been left to the common people to practise.”
Fifthly, If this solution be admitted, and the ceremony that Irwin saw be a relic of ancient Egyptian devotion, then as Moses was hid about three months before he was committed to the Nile, 9 he must have been born about the middle of May. The conduct of Providence also claims our attention, which made the idolatrous devotion of Thermuthis,' the daughter of Pharaoh, the means of rescuing from death a child, whom God intended to make a great Iconomacus' of the Old Testament times, and whose religion was the great preparative to the gospel, by which the worship of idols has been set aside among so many of the heathen nations.
Lastly, Then also the walking of Pharaoh's daughter to the Nile, and along its banks, was not for mere pleasure, but it is to be understood to have been a sacred procession, united with music and songs of praise. The 16th verse of the 23 of Isaiah
may also perhaps receive some illustration from these dancing females, when we recollect their profession: Take a harp, go about the city, thou HARLOT that hast been forgotten, make sweet melody, sing many songs. These Egyptian P 2 Sam. vi. 16.
9 Exod. ii. 2.
harlots went about Ghinnah, with instrumental music, and with songs.
Method of catching the Crocodile in Egypt.
CROCODILES are very terrible to the inhabitants of Egypt; when therefore they appear, they watch them with great attention, and take proper precautions to secure them, so as that they should not be able to avoid the deadly weapons the Egyptians afterwards make use of to kill them,
To these watchings, and those deadly afterassaults, I apprehend Job refers, wlien he says, Am I sea, or a tannin, (that is a whale according to our translation, but a crocodile is what, I make no doubt, is meant there,) that thou settest a watch over me? Ch. vii. 12.
“ The crocodile,” says Maillet, common in Egypt; but it is chiefly found in the Upper Egypt, and very seldom in the Delta," hardly even within a day's journey above Cairo. It is extremely dangerous, and makes a great ravage wherever it is met with, especially above Girgey, which is the place where the ancient Sais stood. They have been known to carry off men themselves, and other
? Lett. 9. p. 32, 33.
"The triangular part of Egypt, whose base is the sea. coast of that country, consequently stiled the Lower Egypt.
« is very
animals, when they met with them on the borders of the Nile. Credible persons have assured me, that towards Essené there are some so prodigious, that they sometimes stop small troops of travellers.
“ Different methods are used to take them, and some of them very singular. The most common is to dig deep ditches along the Nile, which are covered with straw, and into which the crocodile may probably tumble. Sometimes they take them with hooks, which are baited with a quarter of a pig, or with bacon, of which they are very fond. Some hide themselves in the places which they know to be frequented by this creature, and lay snares for him. As soon as he is taken, the hunter runs with loud cries, and says to the crocodile in a strong and threatening tone, childraak-scynche, that is, lift up your foreleg ; this the animal does, upon which the hunter pierces him, in the hollow part under the shoulder, with a bearded dart, and kills him. Some are even so bold as to go to the crocodile, when he is asleep, and fix the dart in him without his being taken in any toils. Others take him by some different methods, with which I am unacquainted; but certainly not with nets, for they are not in use in this country.*
“One of the inhabitants of the Upper Egypt took one of them, the last year, in a manner which deserves to be mentioned, both on account of its singularity, and the danger to which the man exposed himself. He placed a very young boy, which he had, in the spot where the day before this animal had devoured a girl of fifteen, belonging to the governor of this place, who had promised a reward to any one that should bring him the crocodile dead or alive. The man at the same time concealed himself very near the child, holding a large board in his hand, in readiness to execute his design. As soon as he perceived the crocodile was got near the child, he pushed his board into the open mouth of the creature, upon which his sharp teeth, which cross each other, entered into this board with such violence that he could not disengage them, so that it was impossible for him after that to open his mouth. The man immediately farther secured his mouth, and by this means got the fifty crowns the
* This I apprehend, is by no mcans true, but a proof of his inattention to common things.
governor promised to whosoever could take this creature.
Finally, this animal is without contradiction possessed of most extraordinary strength. But a few days ago they brought me one alive, only a foot and half long. He was secured by a cord. I caused his snout to be set free, and he immediately turned to bite bim that held him ; but he only seized on his own tail, into which his teeth entered so far, that it was necessary to make use of an iron instrument to open his mouth. This creature might be no more than a fortnight old. What might a crocodile of 20 feet, or more, do! I last year saw one of