Stairway to Eternity
Chapter III- Part I
Two dozen days after the return of the expedition Snefru decided to hold a court hearing in his palace at Memphis to hear from his general Sesortris a full account of the expedition. Pharoah’s full government was present, all the high priests of Egypt, all the kingdom’s generals and aristocracy. Prince Cheops was also of course present, with his captured priest, Tinguaro.
From behind a large column in the corner of the great hall of the royal palace, Nefertene’s honey eyes looked longingly at Cheops. She thought, ” thank the gods he is back, he is looking so mature, he is a man now” She felt so proud of her lover and future king.
The hearing started with general Sesortris giving a full account of all the details of the expedition to the congregated hierarchies. After the general had finally finished his discourse Cheops requested from his father permission to speak to the chosen throng, introducing Tinguaro the prisoner, priest of Tidikett. He explained the circumstances of his capture but with enormous passion also explained the story of the white pyramid. He reminded the audience of Djoser’s tomb, built by Imhotep. He explained that every night Ra sleeps in the sea behind the white pyramid, and that to see this strange apparition one had to journey to where the land ends and the great sea starts.
Tinguaro was also give an opportunity to speak. Through the scout and with the little Egyptian language that Cheops had taught him on the return journey, the priest of Tidikett confirmed what Cheops had already explained but he continued a little further. He explained that the only people who had in fact seen this apparition were the coastal people of small village called Tarfaya; they were poor but with a little fishing (he explained that they had very primitive boats) and with their goats and pigs managed to survive where the lands ends and the great sea starts. They were the guardians of the great white pyramid. Only they knew how to see the deity. Snefru demanded to know how far away this village was that guards the stairway to eternity. Tinguaro answered that is was at least a month’s journey from his home Oasis, always of course heading towards the sunset, to the west.
Three months therefore, thought Snefru, from Egypt. He had privately decided that he wanted to see this apparition for himself. He knew he couldn’t organize another expedition so soon after his first one; the army and people would not accept it. He must wait and be patient, but pharaoh Snefru had decided that he would see this thing before he died. He would use his new-found knowledge to find, and see this stairway to heaven for himself.
During the hearing there were some among the listeners who were not happy with what they were hearing. For centuries the people of Egypt had been happy worshipping the sun-god Ra and here suddenly and old priest from a primitive far-away tribe was adding to this theology. The only people who should be able to interpret religion should be the priests and high priests of Egypt. Therefore the speech given by Cheops and the discourse by Tinguaro were not at all welcomed by the clergy of Egypt. In fact they found it blasphemous!