trembling and shivering, and cold with dread. He stared on in horror of what he had done. Then he scooped out a hole with his hands and hid the body of the Egyptian in the sand.

All that night he lay without sleep and could get no release from the torment of his thoughts. The scene of his wild act of vengeance hung like a picture in the vacancy of the dark, and he was stricken with remorse.

He rose early and went out secretly to the place where he had hidden the body of the Egyptian. And as he drew near in the red glow of the morning, he saw two Hebrews who were bitterly quarrelling. Before he could come to them, one struck the other down with the staff he carried. His face was distorted with rage and hatred. Moses ran in and raised the fallen man from the ground, and staunched his wound.

‘Why dost thou strike this man?’ he reproached the other. ‘What evil has he done? Is he not of our blood, mine and thine? Surely we at least should be at one together, and not add to the miseries of Israel?’

The man turned and cursed him. ‘Who art thou to come meddling and spying?’ he cried. ‘Who appointed thee a priest and judge over us? Wouldst thou murder me as thou didst yesterday murder the Egyptian? Beware of it!’

His voice rang out loud and clear in the bright air. Moses turned swiftly and hastened away, sick to the soul, and helpless. What he had thought to be a secret had been revealed. Only a sprinkling of sand covered the body of the Egyptian from the sight of man. He feared the vengeance of Pharaoh; his one hope of safety was to flee out of the country while yet there was time.

When indeed this matter was reported to the king, he was filled with wrath. He had no love for Moses. Neither wholly Hebrew, nor in blood Egyptian, he had proved his skill and resource in war. The king saw in him a danger, and already suspected him of treason. And now that he had occasion, he sought how he might kill Moses. But it was too late. He had already escaped beyond the fortresses on the frontiers of Egypt, nor did he pause in his flight until he found himself in a region south of the land of Midian and eastward of the Red Sea. There in ancient times were the turquoise and copper mines of the kings of Egypt.

After long wandering Moses came at evening, when the sun was low, to a well, where there was a grove of acacia trees. Wearied out in mind and body, but at last out of danger of pursuit, he sat down to rest. The shade was cool after the heat of the day, the earth lay at peace beneath the flaming skies of sunset, and a slender crescent moon was in the west.

Now the priest of the Midianites who dwelt near there had seven daughters. And a little while after Moses had come to the well-side, these seven came down with their father’s flocks, and began to fill with water the stone troughs that lay beside it, to water their sheep. And as they did so in the wild bright light of the desert skies, they talked merrily together, their sheep and lambs bleating thirstily around them.

They had been there but a little while, however, when fierce and morose herdsmen of the desert also came down with their flocks, and drove their sheep away. Moses at once rose up and defended them against the shepherds, and himself watered the sheep. The damsels thanked him, marvelling who this stranger could be.

When they returned home to their father, Jethro, he asked them, ‘How is it you are come back so soon this evening?’

They told him of all that had happened at the well, and how a stranger, an Egyptian, had not only protected them from the shepherds, but had helped them to draw water and to give drink to their sheep.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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