Stairway to Eternity
Chapter I- Part II
One day in mid-summer, an important leader of the Libyn refugees was led into
the palace of Imhotep, he was Tapot, king of the Libyan tribe of Ahaggar, many miles west of Egypt. His land had been ravaged by draught and he had decided to bring his people to the river kingdom.
Many of his tribe had died in the long walk eastwards but more than half had survived. Imhotep sat on his throne as Tapot threw himself to the floor and pledged eternal allegiance to Egypt and the pharaoh Djoser. ” I had you my people to make Egypt greater” he said. “We also worship Ra, the sun-god, as you do”. Imhotep was surprised to find that these folk from so far away also worshipped the sun; he wanted to know more so the conversation continued making the interpreter work harder and harder. ” We know where the sun sleeps at night” said Tapot ” It is in a sea so big and powerful that no man can venture there”. Inhotep was facscinated “Where is that sea?, it cannot be our sea to the north as the sun sleeps to the west”!
Tapot replied full of confidence:
“It is where the land ends and there is nothing but sea, where the world ends and there is the stairway to eternity”.
“What is this stairway?” demanded Imhotep, ” I have not seen it but from its top holy men and great men can enter into the eternal life. I have been told by the coastal people that it is like a great mountain, so high and white that its top enters into heaven, Ra sleeps behind it; it stands in the sky and is holy to our people” replied Tapot. Imhotep was excited, he was the supreme priest of Ra and here was this primitive chieftain from far away explaining to him where Ra slept and that there was a way to get to Him, Heaven and eternal life after death. Tapot was allowed to build a village near the river and integrate his people into the life of Egypt.
The years passed and Djoser grew older, like all pharaohs his funerary mastaba had been built at Saqqara, ready for the dark day of his death but his friend Imhotep had decided that his pharaoh would be buried with greater honor; Imhotep would build a structure so high that it would be like the description given to him by the Ahaggar chieftain Tapot, and so the extension of the monument started, adding layers and layers of stone to be able to “touch the sky” and to help Djoser enter the eternal heaven of Ra.
What a monument! People came from all over the kingdom to see it. Djoser was very satisfied. Months later, whilst out hunting with his brothers and sons, pharaoh fell from his horse and died. The funeral celebrations, preparations and rites immediately started, organized by Imhotep. Djoser was placed into his tomb at Saqqara in an elaborate ceremony; above his mummified body was the white pyramid that would take him to eternity, the first step pyramid of Saqqara, the first pyramid of Egypt. The year was 2651 B.C.