So I was heading back home from another expedition when I ran into a bunch of Ishmaelites. Hairy beggars the lot of them, and they were having an argument around a wagon. They didn’t look like a bunch of murderous thieves so I rode up to them and said hello. Turns out they had a bit of a problem with their cargo. They had planned on getting to the coast and the Philistine cities, maybe even as far as Egypt, my native land. But the horrendous weather, blazing heat and sudden rain storms, had slowed their little caravan to a snail’s pace and now their merchandise was sure to have gone off before they reached a seller. Oh what luck that I was here!
You see the Ishmaelites were in a bind – their cargo was luxury foodstuffs and they were expecting a high price for it in Ashkelon. To go on a long journey with nothing to show for it would be a disaster and there was no one nearby to sell the food to just to make some money at least. Well, no one that they knew about. It wasn’t long before we were haggling for the cargo. They didn’t put up much of a struggle, and in exchange for some gold talents, a fine rug and a small god who was trapped in a rock (I kept him handy just in case) I received an ass and a wagon full of food that needed to be sold fast. The Ishmaelites went their merry way home and I struck out into the desert.
Yeah, I know it seems stupid to head into the worst part of the world where no one lives, but I happened to know that there were a lovely bunch of people that made their home in that inhospitable hell hole. They also happened to love Egyptians, or so I had heard, since they worshiped one of the old Pharaohs, Ramoses. And what with the recent storms and heat waves they would surely be looking for some tasty nosh that an enterprising merchant would bring them. Well it took a couple of days, but eventually I found their camp. Some of the elders came out to greet me and they spoke a mix of Canaanite and Egyptian. It didn’t take long to convince them to trade. The nomads had been dependent on honey dew and the odd bit of fungus they could find. Most of their livestock had died recently and so they were keen to eat real meat. An agreement was reached, many, many fine rugs for me, and all the quail in the wagon for the tribe.
Look, how was I supposed to know the damn birds were already diseased! Those Ishmaelites had assured me by Mitra that they were good for weeks at least! And I’d even eaten one or two of them on my journey into the desert, so really it can’t have been my fault. I think Ramoses must have cursed them because the sickness was awful. Never before have I seen so much of peoples insides being expelled from one end or the other. Oh it was horrible, and then they had the nerve to blame me! So I ran – they didn’t have any horses and so it was purely a foot race. If only I had managed to get my ass from the wagon then I would have had something. Instead I was hunted for the better part of a day, and by Seth it took all my knowledge of the wilderness to keep ahead of them. Then I was alone with no goods, no money, not even my god in a rock.
Well, Seth smiles upon me a lot, for the very next day I came upon another wandering traveler. Big fellow, like, with an enormous spear. Didn’t look too savvy but then looks can be deceiving. I put on my best smile and approached.
“Hey stranger, greetings from the desert! I can’t help but notice you wander these dangerous lands alone.”
He looked at me, sizing me up. Well, I’m smaller than him, so it can’t have taken long.
“Greetings stranger, ” he said, “I see you also walk alone. Or are you a scout for wandering raiders I wonder?”
“Oh no such thing I assure you! And let us not be strangers, my name is Senbi, and if you wish we could travel together. It’s safer for two than one out here.”
“Yes, I’m sure you could keep me safe little Senbi, you must be a great hunter like Nimrod and I could well use your protection!” And he laughed loudly.
“Hey, I was just saying…”
“No, you are right. And perhaps you could come in useful in the lands that I know not. My name is Goliath and I travel to the East to find the Magi. Do you know the way?”
“Why sure! I know all the ways! From the Palace of Akheperre Setepenamun to the city of Assur, from the ruins of Hattusa to the ports of Kush, I am your ever loyal guide.”
“Then we may walk together. Lead on little man, take me to the Magi!”
I looked behind me. I couldn’t quite make anything out, but I had the feeling the Ramoseans were still on my trail. Well, who can blame me for accompanying an obvious warrior in this dangerous world of ours. And if I didn’t quite know the way to Assur then at least I knew which direction east was. That counts for something right? And when he got talking this Goliath fellow revealed he had a great destiny in store, and who am I to not travel alongside a great man for a while. I can see it now – the tales they will tell of Senbi and Goliath!