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the tale of two brothers

This fairy tale starts out with two brothers, Anubis and Bata, at Anubis’ home. While the elder Anubis is away from the farm, his wife attempts to seduce the younger, single Bata. She tries her best, but he rejects her time and time again, allowing her to make no advances towards him. Out of spite, the wife tells Anubis that his brother (Bata) tried to seduce her. As a result, Anubis tries to kill Bata, who flees the farm. He prayed to god Re-Harakhti to save him from his raging brother, and the god created a moat filled with alligators between the two brothers.

Since Anubis cannot reach Bata, he cannot kill him, allowing Bata to tell his side of the story. To prove that he is telling the truth, Bata cuts off his genitalia and throws them into the water to be eaten by the fish. Bata then states that he is going to Cedar Valley, where he will place his heart on a cedar tree blossom. He tells Anubis that if that tree should be cut down, he will be able to find his brother’s heart and bring Bata back to life. The way Anubis will know to travel to the tree is if he receives a frothy beer.

Hearing all of this, Anubis realizes that his wife has attempted to cheat on him, so he kills her. During his travels, Bata comes across an Egyptian deity who takes pity on him. Another Egyptian god named Khnum creates a wife for Bata, who has created a home in Cedar Valley. Since she was created divinely, she is sought after by many… this includes the pharaoh. The pharaoh succeeds in seducing Bata’s wife, and she betrays Bata more so by having the pharaoh order the tree with Bata’s heart to be cut down. Once the tree is cut down, Bata dies.

Anubis receives his frothy beer, and heads towards Cedar Valley. He searches for three years to find his brother’s heart, and eventually finds it during year four. He puts the heart in some cold water, and Bata is resurrected. Somehow, Bata takes the form of a bull and goes to see his betraying wife with the pharaoh. His wife noticed Bata as a bull and tells the pharaoh that she wants to eat his liver. The bull is sacrificed, and two drops of Bata’s blood fall to the ground, forming two trees. He again addresses his cheating wife, and she tells pharaoh to cut down the trees and use them as furniture.

He obliges and has the trees cut down. As this happens, a splinter ends up in the wife’s mouth one way or another, and that causes her to get pregnant with Bata’s child. The pharaoh, thinking it is his child, crown him prince. When the pharaoh dies, the prince (who we find out is really Bata resurrected again) becomes king, and brings his brother Anubis along as prince. The brothers are finally at peace and in control of the country. In this fairy tale, Bata would be considered the hero for his relentless and selfless nature.

He does not relent in bringing justice to his own wife as well as Anubis’ wife, and he eventually becomes the pharaoh. He is selfless in that he was willing to do anything to prove to Anubis that he was innocent and preserve their relationship. Anubis could also be considered a hero, because he obeyed his brother and sought after his heart once he received a frothy beer. Also, upon realizing that his brother was right about his wife, he was quick to alleviate that situation as well. Both the main male characters seem to be the “good guys” while the women seem to be the villainous factors in the fairy tale.

Anubis’ wife tried to seduce Bata and then turned his brother against him by accusing Bata of seduction. She was the reason that the brothers were driven apart, thus creating the rest of the conflict throughout the fairy tale. Then, there is Bata’s divinely created wife. She leaves him for the pharaoh, and then kills him three times over by manipulating the pharaoh. Finding some sort of moral to this tale was very difficult. There is a lot going on at the same time, but one moral sticks out: “Justice is always served. This is evident in the first conflict when Anubis realizes the adulterous acts of his wife and kills her. The second place that it is evident is with Bata’s wife having a baby that ends up being Bata, who rules the country. Despite all of her attempts to remove Bata from the situation, she still ends up unsuccessful. In a way, this lesson is still very useful in society today. Adolescents and teens in our society have a sense of entitlement and think that they can get away with things. Sooner or later, they will get caught; they will slip up, and someone will see that.

While the moral is still relevant, the story is not. There is way too much going on in the story and it is not appropriate by today’s standards. I would omit some parts that are not all relevant to the storyline, and update the situations that they are in so that children of today can better understand what is happening. This was my second time reading this. I seem to remember sometime right around the sixth grade visiting this tale, but I believe it was a more suitable version for the age group. This particular translation of the tale is not something that I would read to a child.

In a way I think they would not be able to grasp what the tale is trying to say, not to mention it being a little too inappropriate depending on the age of the child. Fairy tales are not always glass slippers and talking cookies. The originals are raw and have a distinct message to portray. There are no little birdies singing or animals that help you clean; there is heartbreak, death, portrayal of other faiths, etc. that by today’s standards would be in no way appropriate for children. I always thought they all had happy endings and everyone got what they wanted… boy was I wrong.

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