Q. Wow, you are one big guy! Do you work out?
A. Work out what?
Q. Never mind. What made you decide to become a soldier?
A. We’ve always lived in the king’s city. Soldiers are always walking though the streets, and when I was a boy I was impressed, as most boys are, by their gleaming shields and swords, by the marching columns and lines of chariots. But what sealed it for me was an incident when I was about ten years old. I was walking with my sisters in the market. A drunken vendor was flirting with my oldest sister. She wasn’t interested, but he didn’t give up. He grabbed her. I tried to pull her back, but I was of course too small. He had her halfway down an alley and had ripped her tunic when a soldier rushed in and rescued her. The vendor was whipped and she married the soldier! But from then on, all I wanted to be was a soldier.
Q. How did your family react?
A. My father was a scribe, and I had been in school for a few years to learn that trade. He wasn’t terribly happy that I wanted to quit, and in fact didn’t let me. I finished the school, which is good, because knowing how to read and write brought me great advantages.
Q. What is most important to you in life?
A. Honor. Integrity.
Q. Are you married?
Q. Why not? Most men your age are.
A. Good soldiers don’t make good husbands.