Quiet moment with the prince of Egypt
“Slowly I walk downwards, half crouched, into the heat and dust of the tomb, my lantern passing over walls with the most magical scenes – Ramses, hand in hand with his little son, guiding him on his journey to the Underworld. He was only around 15 years old, I thought, how terribly sad.
I descend further and finally reach the small inner chamber, only ten foot square, almost filled by the red granite sarcophagus of the little boy, Prince Amen-Khopshef, the pharoah’s son. The background noise of some jabbering guardians fade away, and I realise that I am alone in the tomb, a hundred yards beneath the Egyptian mountain. The atmosphere changes around me in an instant, like closing the heavy door behind you when entering an empty church or chapel. Three thousand years ago, the walls had absorbed every last note of the Priestly funeral chants, the echoing sandalled footsteps as the mourners solemnly left, perhaps even the sad whisper of a last goodbye from a pharoah’s lips.
A tear fell from the Queens eye, and the tomb was sealed. Every resonance, and vibration was absorbed until nothing but a void was left, an enclosed Universe of Soundlessness, in which I now deeply find myself within. My fingertips lay gently on the warm granite casing of the sarcophagus, flecked with black Mica and Quartzite. The red volcanic stone is smooth and electrifying under my touch. I want to speak, to say something, to apologise perhaps for spoiling the sanctity of this most intimate place, for being here where none living should be. Or is it to say thank you, for giving me this quiet moment alone with a little boy from long ago, a young Prince of Egypt.”
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* photo by Sian Parker, Valley of the Kings – Intrepid Photography Competition