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Chapter 189 - Oubratouvishar describes his native country Nubia.
189,1. (The Lord:) “Earlier I asked you if you were hungry and thirsty and merely posed the question because I could see only too well that you are weak with hunger and thirst. The day has already lasted for four hours and since yesterday you have not eaten nor have you had anything to drink since mid-day. You were unable to have any milk on the ship and the water on board was already putrid and therefore undrinkable. My immediate concern for you is that you should build up the strength in your bodies again as without it you will be unable to enjoy the relaxing rest which is essential for you to absorb and retain the spiritual food in a more permanent way. To attempt to teach the Gospel to an audience when their eyes and ears proclaim their hunger and thirst without offering them food beforehand, would be the pinnacle of worldly self-serving foolishness! The first priority is that your bodies should be nourished and only then will we look to the Gospel!
189,2. However, here, you will have to be content with the offerings on My table, which are not the same as you are accustomed to consume, and leave your moth-eaten dates and figs for your camels to eat. Please therefore sit at the tables over there which are empty and you will quickly be provided with sufficient to eat and drink! You, Oubratouvishar, sit down here as you too are a real king of your people and this is a table for kings who have to decide together how to lead their people and develop them into true human beings!”
189,3. Everybody follows my wishes and our Marcus with the help of unseen hands is at once ready with a quantity of the best fish. When the black people are seated at the tables, fish, bread, salt and wine are placed before them and the guests are invited to enjoy the meal that has been provided in this way. They soon begin to eat the still steaming fish, consume the bread and wine, and they find everything to be excellently prepared and very tasty.
189,4. Their leader, already gaining in confidence, said: “Lord of my life, food as tasty as this has never before touched my palate! At times we also eat fish at home but we regard it as a penance food. Anyone failing to observe our established rules has to eat fish. If we were able to prepare fish like this, to be required to eat it would no longer be a penance!
189,5. What kind of water is this that we are drinking here? It tastes indescribably good and one could it drink at any time without being thirsty and also constantly eat this honey- sweet bread! In Memphis I was sometimes offered bread to eat by the proconsul but it was not as sweet as this by a long way. However, above all I am astonished by this water! Where is the source? Are we able to buy it from you? I would like to take some of it home so that people can taste the spring water from this heavenly country.
189,6. The earth is also much more beautiful here than in our homeland! Here there is extraordinary variety! Everywhere thickets and trees grow in abundance but at home there are only a few places where the vegetation is like that, - otherwise there is only wasteland which is desolate and barren. Here most of the mountains are covered to their summit with very beautiful trees and look soft and inviting while at home we see naked rocks, with only the occasional patch of greyish red moss. Theses rocks look totally destroyed and weather-beaten. In colour they are mostly burnished red and dark-grey and for the most part they are so steep that they can only be climbed in a few places - and one is always taking one’s life in one’s hands. Once you have reached the top, the heat is unbearable especially after midday, as then the mountain tops begin to glow so fiercely that fish placed on the rocks is completely cooked in a few moments, even the meat of lambs and goats. In the afternoon even the eagles cannot rest on a mountain top and the ibex descend to the fields near the rushing waters of the Nile.
189,7. Yes, we live in a very hard and extremely hot country, where it is quite difficult at times to be a human being and survive! Especially during the late summer it would be quite impossible to live far away from the Nile as there are then days when the rocks and the desert sand begin to melt - especially in the afternoon if the midday wind begins to blow. Then we can almost see flames rolling towards us over the sandy floor of the wide expanse of desert. People and animals then have no choice but to embrace the good Nile, which by some miracle, is a very cold stream as it passes through our region.
189,8. As the last quarter of the year approaches and before the rainy month arrives, we have the most terrible time of all because then the fire storms begin. The air becomes horribly sultry. Clouds like incredible columns of fire rise from behind the mountains and finally cover the whole sky, while countless bolts of lightning come crashing down from the grey-black blanket of the sky accompanied by fearsome claps of thunder which terrorise both people and animals. Although they do not cause much damage, because they disperse high up in the sky, it is however no joke to have to listen to this cracking, roaring, hissing and thundering for sometimes as long as forty days and forty nights – apart from also living with the fear of being horribly burned by one of the lightning strikes coming too close to earth, a fate which from time to time befalls us and in particular those people who do not diligently smear their bodies with fat.
189,9. When the fire storm season is over, it starts to rain and the rain continues for about four to six weeks or complete phases of the moon. The rain which falls is fine but dense and on some mountain tops it sometimes snows. Towards the end of the rainy season the temperature often drops noticeably so that we have to warm ourselves at the fire. This is also not particularly beneficial but nevertheless better than living through late summer.
189,10. This is our life and how we live and behave! We have to endure much hardship and enjoy very few pleasures. What heaven these surroundings are compared to ours! What a joy it must be to live in these areas which are truly heaven on earth, and how desolate and sad our country is by comparison! But You, My Lord, decreed that it should be like this and that we, sitting there in our black skins, would not wish to have it otherwise. Life is perfectly tolerable as it is. It is true to say that no one of us has ever had any complaint regarding Your divine ordinance!
189,11. Our coal-black skin is in some respects quite a burden for us to bear, firstly because, in our wide experience, it attracts heat far more than any other brighter colour, and secondly, because we are unattractively ugly by comparison with you white-skinned people. Look for example at the heavenly shape of this young girl in our presence and consider how ugly one of our girls is on the other hand! We see it and we feel it - yet we can not change colour! What beautiful hair you have, and what an ugly tangle of short black wool we have to adorn our heads! However, we do not complain and are content with everything that You, My Lord and Master, have ordained for us!
189,12. Now I must show you my beautiful natural specimen and You, My Lord, will graciously tell us what its value might be!”
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