Warburton, Eliot
Travels in Egypt and the Holy Land, or, The crescent and the cross: comprising the romance and realities of eastern travel — Philadelphia, 1859

Page: 107
Citation link: 
https://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/warburton1859/0137
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CHAP. XVI.]

JOSEPH'S GRANARIES

107

and he, who had ruthlessly ravaged and laid waste the dwellings
of man, would not disturb the domestic arrangements of a bird :
Babylon was taken, but he ordered a new city to be built from
its ruins on the site where this dove sat hatching. Thus Fostat*
became the metropolis of Egypt. The nomade instinct was too
strong for its repose, however, and under the Fatimites, it was
obliged to start again, and remove to its present position, where
it dwells under the name of Misr el Kahira, " the victorious
city," or, in plain English, Grand Cairo. There are some re-
mains of these former cities still existing, among which is a fine
aqueduct, and some buildings called Joseph's Granaries, which
are still used for that purpose.

Some hundred years ago, they say, there was ft great scarcity
of corn in Egypt: the people were daily perishing of want; yet
some avaricious merchants hoarded up their stock until it be-
came worth its weight in gold. Among these was an old miser
named Amin, who had filled one of these Granaries at the last
plenteous harvest. Day by day, as the famine wasted his fel-
low-citizens, he sat upon the steps of his corn-store, speculating
on their sufferings, and calculating how he could make the ut-
most usury out of God's bounty. At length there was no more
corn elsewhere ; famishing crowds surrounded his store-house,
and besought him, as a charity, to give them a little food for
all their wealth. Gold was piled around him ; the miser's soul
was satisfied with the prospect of boundless riches. Slowly he
unclosed his iron doors, but recoiled, terror-stricken, from his
treasury. Heaven had sent the worm into his corn, and, instead
of piles of yellow wheat, he gazed on festering masses of rot-
tenness and corruption. Starving as the people were, they
raised a shout of triumph at the manifest judgment ; but Amin
heard it not—he had perished in his hour of evil pride.

The sun was setting behind the Pyramids when I embarked ;
but night and day made little difference in this country, and the
former is only associated with the idea of rest when it happens
to be too dark to see. It was bright moonlight as I mustered
our swarthy crew on the river's edge. Their countenances

• A tent.
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