“And it came to pass, that at midnight the Lord smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle” (Exodus 12:29).
Myclopse, chief magician of Pharaoh, retired early that night, his soul disturbed and amazed within him.
His wife understood: a young man of talent and imagination, her husband, had passed others in Pharaoh’s esteem. She knew the trying days of late—who did not? Moses and Aaron, with their magic God—never had the wisdom of the Egyptians been so mocked. The land stank with frogs; rivers ran with blood; locusts and the fire-hail had destroyed all vegetation. The nation was unnerved by three days of darkness, darkness that could be felt.
Sleep did not come to Myclopse, for strange thoughts surge d up. “What if it is true after all—what if the true God IS speaking to us, the real God known to all men as a babe knows its mother’s breast? We have seen the finger of God and in that white light centuries of pretense lie exposed. Should I pray to him? But I serve Pharaoh.”
“Tonight,” mused Myclopse, “I stole into the room where my little son was sleeping. Like thousands of parent’s I looked down at the beautiful, relaxed form. Peace and hope returned, the contests of Pharaoh’s court faded, the gods were kind. But as I stood there a sense of guilt came which I can’t explain. The ways of Egypt seemed to stand condemned in the presence of a child—would that I could lay on that little soul a faith more real than I must practise. Tonight the scouts inform us that lambs are being killed in Goshen, and blood is being sprinkled on each door. A lamb’s blood for safety? Well, at least the religion of the Egyptians has no such superstition as that. Surely, all these tumults will pass and life will flow again in ordinary channels—it always has. It is late. What ails me? a man must live. What would happen to my position, to my home and family, if Pharaoh’s magician became too much interested in this new God? Each to his own religion, it is best that way.”
Exhausted Myclopse slept fitfully Until he heard the beating of a wing And the night was ripped apart.