Lost: One Ungrateful Slave
from the book, "Petrified Lightning"

Petrified Lightning

Lost: One Ungrateful Slave

About 3,000 years ago an Egyptian gentleman was quite upset that one of his favorite slaves had run away. Why should the slave do such a thing after all the owner had done for him? The slave had been whipped only when he deserved it, and he was fed as well as the household dogs. With all these acts of kindness, why should the man want to be free? The only logical conclusion was that the runaway slave was an ingrate.

The distressed nobleman insisted that the slave be brought back and punished. So, on a bit of papyrus, he offered a reward for the return of this ungrateful runaway slave.

Whether the slave was returned or not will never be known, since no record exists of anyone's collecting the reward. Anyway, this is of little historical importance—except, of course, to the slave. What is of consequence to scientists and scholars is that this bit of papyrus, preserved in the British Museum, remains the oldest known piece of advertising copy.