The Desert of the Exodus: Journeys on Foot in the Wilderness of the Forty Years' Wanderings; Undertaken in Connection with the Ordnance Survey of Sinai and the Palestine Exploration Fund

By E. H. Palmer | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI.
MOUNT SINAI.

Camp at Jebel Músa. — Sálem and the Hyena. — Ascent of Mount Sinai. — The Pilgrims' Road. — Moses's Fount. — Chapel of the Œconomos. — Legend of Our Lady of the Fleas. — The Confessional Archway. — Chapel of Elijah. — The Cypress. — Summit of Mount Sinai. — The Delivery of the Law. — Rás Sufsáfeh and the Plain of Er Ráhah. — Continuation of Pilgrims' Road. — The Convent of the Forty Martyrs. — The Rock in Horeb .— The Mould of the Golden Calf.

HAVING paid our introductory visit to the monks, we proceeded to fix upon a site for our camp — a question of some importance, as we were to stay at Jebel Músa six or eight weeks. The spot selected was a pleasant, sheltered one, lying in a slight depression at the foot of Aaron's Hill. True, we were given to understand that the place was infested by hyenas, but this only added to the romance and excitement of the thing. Wonderful stories the Arabs told us of the cunning of these beasts: how, for instance, a hunter lay down to sleep with his dog and powder-flask beside him, when the hyena, of whom he was in quest, seized the opportunity and the dog, devoured the latter, and walked off with the powder-flask, without arousing the hunter from his sleep. One hyena, attracted by the savory odors of the cook's tent, did visit us for several successive nights, carefully selecting a moment when dinner or sleep was engrossing all our energies, and consequently always skulking off before any one could snatch up a gun. Emboldened by long impunity, he ventured into the small tent in which the stores were kept, and at last appeared before the astonished gaze of our two Arab "helps," who had sought shelter there. Sálem, one of the Arabs aforesaid, and our own most trusty guide, determined to revenge himself on the intruder, and having borrowed a gun, sat

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