Egypt (Chapter 2)

Dinah’s life has revolved around her son, and in his absence she feels lost and alone. With Re-mose gone, Dinah must earn her place in the house of Nakht-re. She speaks less often to Re-nefer and eventually moves out of the house and into the garden shed. Dinah hears of the life of her son only through letters sent by Re-mose’s teacher, Kar, who has taken a liking to his gifted student. In her loneliness, Dinah is comforted only by Meryt, the midwife who attended her delivery. Meryt shares the secrets of her life with Dinah, but Dinah does not reciprocate, fearing that the knowledge of her past would haunt Re-mose and impede his success. Meryt eventually accepts Dinah’s silence but will not ignore that Dinah is an accomplished midwife. Meryt begs her secrets, and when the day comes that Meryt’s caregiver, Ruddedit, calls for help for her daughter Hatnuf, Meryt gives Dinah no choice and drags her to the delivery. After much hardship, Hatnuf passes a stillborn baby, but a healthy twin follows. Hatnuf dies of blood loss but the family rejoices in the survival of the twin who would have died without Dinah’s help. Soon messengers call for Dinah and Meryt to attend the births from royal and low-born women alike.

Dinah receives many fine gifts for her services, and she and Meryt go to the market to trade. Dinah finds a lovely carved box for her treasures and is wooed by the woodcarver, Benia. He promises to deliver the box to her home, but Dinah forgets the woodcarver once she returns home and finds that Re-mose has returned.

The family throws a party for Re-mose, and the guests are greatly moved by a veiled singer who performs. After all the guests have left, Dinah realizes that the singer is Werenro, her Grandmother’s red-haired messenger who was presumed dead. Werenro reveals that on the way back to Mamre from the market, she was attacked by three men who ravaged her body. She refused to scream, and the men destroyed her face in anger. They left Werenro to die on the road, but she was found by a young boy and his mother who took her into their home and nursed her to health. Werenro was tired of her life serving Rebecca and wished to be dead to Mamre, so the mother cut strands of Werenro’s hair and left them with some sheep bones on the road for the messengers to find. Werenro devoted the rest of her life to song. She tells Dinah that she has much life left, and Dinah sleeps on her shoulder. When Dinah wakes, Werenro is gone.