Study Guide

The Red Tent Part Three, Chapter Two

By Anita Diamant

Part Three, Chapter Two

  • As time goes on, Re-nefer and Dinah start to drift apart as friends, especially now that Re-mose is gone.
  • But good news comes from Memphis, where Re-mose is being schooled. Apparently, he has mastered keymt—a memorization skill—in a mere two years.
  • Basically, the kid is a smarty-pants.
  • So Re-mose is chosen as an apprentice to his teacher, Kar. He even sends his mother some pottery. This kid really is great.
  • Nevertheless, Dinah feels pretty lonely. Luckily, the midwife Meryt is there to be her friend.
  • Though Meryt is probably the person who treats Dinah the best, Dinah can't divulge the truth to her. So Meryt goes on thinking Dinah is a completely different person with a different past.
  • Meryt actually makes Dinah a legend among the women because of her skills as a midwife.
  • And though Meryt really knows nothing about Dinah, Dinah knows everything about Meryt. 'Cause Meryt sure is a talker.
  • Eventually, Meryt asks Dinah to go with her to help as midwife, but Dinah refuses. She doesn't want to step foot outside the ground she is safe on.
  • But it seems like Meryt isn't too great of a midwife, so Dinah helps her out a little by teaching her Inna's methods.
  • But then Meryt's lady, Ruddedit, has a daughter, Hatnuf, who is pregnant. And her pregnancy isn't going well, so Meryt pleads with Dinah to go.
  • Dinah can tell that the baby is already dead, but she also knows that they can save the mother.
  • Dinah tries everything, but nothing is working. The baby won't come out, and Hatnuf is on the verge of dying.
  • But then Dinah has a quick little light-bulb moment: she decides to sing the song Inna learned from the Shechem people. Somehow, this works, and the baby comes out. Like Dinah guessed, it is dead.
  • But wait—there's more.
  • Hatnuf is having twins, and another baby comes out much more easily—and alive.
  • Unfortunately, Hatnuf dies after having the second baby. Dinah is absolutely distraught, even though Hatnuf's friends and family praise her for saving the baby.
  • Anyway, Meryt and Dinah becomes pretty famous after this incident for being the best midwives in town, so they go around doing their thang.
  • Yes, thang.
  • Usually, a midwife gets paid in random trinkets people have and in jewelry and such, so pretty soon, Dinah has so much of this stuff that she doesn't know what to do with it.
  • Meryt knows, though: she decides they should go into the marketplace and buy a huge basket to put it in.
  • Remember, Dinah doesn't like leaving her household, so she isn't too happy about going to the marketplace. But she does, anyway.
  • After a long while, Dinah finds a box with very beautiful handmade carvings. The carpenter's work is amazing.
  • The carpenter's name is Benia, and he flirts with the two girls—but he directs his flirtations mostly at Dinah.
  • Meryt senses Benia's attraction—and Dinah's, who's totally acting shy and flustered—so Meryt asks questions that pretty much mean, Are you married, and do you like my friend?
  • The answer: No I'm not married; and yes, I like your friend.
  • Benia is to drop off the box the next morning.
  • When the ladies get back, however, everyone is in an uproar. Re-mose is home from school.
  • Apparently, Re-mose is also back to recover from his circumcision—a procedure, you'll remember, that Dinah has some bad memories about.
  • Re-mose and Dinah have a nice little mother-son chat. It's sort of awkward, but it's polite.
  • Re-mose speaks highly of his teacher, Kar, and says he is to accompany Kar to Kush, where they will delve into the trade of ebony and ivory.
  • Two days later, there's a feast for Re-mose, where Dinah happily watches her son. He's pretty good with the ladies.
  • Something about the feast catches her eye: there is a veiled singer present.
  • After the feast, Dinah goes up to the singer and addresses her as Werenro, her grandmother's servant, who supposedly died.
  • Huh, good guess.
  • Apparently, Werenro never really died. She was brutally beaten (to the point where she basically had no face anymore) and raped by three men. She was left to die, but she was saved by a boy.
  • The boy brought her to his mother, who then nursed her back to life out of the goodness of her heart. This woman then sent word to Rebecca that Werenro was murdered, because Werenro didn't want to go back.
  • When Werenro asks Dinah for her story, Dinah tells her everything.
  • It's one of those moments when Dinah just wants to get everything out there at once, and it feels good to relieve herself of that burden.
  • Werenro then tells Dinah that her story isn't finished, and that she isn't just "Den-ner," the foreign midwife, but "Dinah," the daughter of four beloved mothers.
  • Then Dinah falls asleep, and Werenro is gone. Poof.
  • And Re-mose leaves a week later with his teacher.