Stairway to Eternity (Chapter VII – Part III)
“We cannot go on, our ships will be broken to pieces and we will all die; we must search for a bay, or a least a beach where we can make landfall” announced Snefru.
All eyes strained, searching the coast, further along from the high cliffs lay a lower coastal plain leading gradually up into a fertile, green, wooded valley. Nothing the crews had ever seen anywhere, even in Egypt, was so rich and verdant. There must be plentiful water and wildlife. This place was indeed paradise.
As the ships drew nearer the coast, brief beaches were at last spotted. Though large waves were thundering down on these beaches, it was decided to beach the three ships and get ashore. The crews muttered to each other about the colour of the sand. In all their travels they had never seen black sand on a beach. There was no sign of life, no dwellings, no smoke, no fire, only a hypnotically green island. As they looked higher they could see the immensely tall pines that covered, apparently, every inch of the mountains.
Using great skill Taborno and his fellows directed the three ships through the enormous waves and ran the flat-bottomed ships up onto the beach, as far as the water could carry them. Two of the vessels beached badly, overturning, spilling crew, cargo, supplies and rigging into the boiling surf but these were tough men, sailors and soldiers, and they swam, staggered and dragged themselves our of the surf to collect the stores and supplies that were now strewn around the beach. The animals were frightened but in good shape. Nothing had been lost. The men on the beach brought in the ‘royal yacht’ with great care and luckily no one was hurt.
As Snefru set foot on the firm black sand he fell to his knees, followed by all his men and girls. He said aloud: “Thanks be to Ra! We have arrived on his holy island, we are blessed, no man has been here before. We can now see the white pyramid, we are in paradise, on the first step of the stairway to eternity”.
Camp was set up and Snefru sent heavily armed groups of his guards to look for any sign of life. They went in all directions but after a few days the search parties returned to their base. They had seen nothing that indicated human presence, only many birds, and giant lizards, each about half the size of a man. They were alone on this beautiful island paradise. Ra slept behind the white pyramid, so the island must be holy. After the initial days of excitement, they reminded themselves that they should return to Tamaran. Harmhad would wait only fifteen days. Snefru had slept little during for Egypt. They after all were the only civilization in the world and the strongest nation; they worshiped Ra and although the priest and the high priests interpreted the thoughts and desires of Ra, Pharoah was king of the land of the Sun God. He therefore decided he would leave a contingent of men, and his own women, animals and supplies on the island to take possessions, and be the guards of Pharoah on this holy island of Ra.
Many of the men were keen to stay, including the three fishermen. The women were ordered to stay. Pharoah and Cheops promised they would return, bringing a fresh garrison in a few years time. The two ships that had toppled sideways on the beach were left behind and Cheops and his father with a chosen crew made ready to leave this lovely place and return to Tamaran, to Harmhad and the remaining men.
Ten days had passed since the three ships set off from Tamaran so they must return quickly.
During these few days on the holy island Pharoah and Cheops had decided they would build a replica of the white pyramid when they returned to Egypt. It would be on the west side of the great river and would be used as their burial monument. In this way they would be certain to reach eternity. Yes, they would build a copy of the white pyramid in the land of Egypt.
Before leaving the holy island the three fishermen had explained to Pharoah and Cheops that they would call the island in their language Tenerife meaning, the island of the white mountain; and so it was and until this day four thousand six hundred years later the island is still called Tenerife.
They took two days to return to Tamaran and two more via Maxorata to Tarfay. They were relieved to get back to Libya and see their waiting army of thousands and the thirteen ships. Sesortris was worried to see only three ships returning, what had happened to the other two? Was Pharoah safe? And Cheops?
They anchored in the small bay and an enormous cheer went up as the Egyptians saw their beloved Pharoah returning together with their future monarch Cheops. That night there was rejoicing in the camp, the job was done, the white pyramid existed, it was not a myth, it was real. Harmhad explained to the Egyptians that their Pharoah and his son were now like gods, for had they not reached and seen the white pyramid? They were now sons of Amun and Ra, the two gods of Nemet together, water and sun.
That evening Pharoah explained to the elders of Tarfaya, their priest and their chieftain that the three fishermen had stayed together with the interpreter, the Egyptian women and nearly fifty sailors and members of the royal guard on the island of Ra, the holy island that they now called Tenerife. They would be the guardians of Egypt of this ‘island of the white mountain’. The people of Tarfaya should say nothing to any future visitors; this was a secret of Egypt and of Tarfaya. The people of Tarfaya would be severely punished if anyone told the secret of Ra’s night time home.
Sesortris and Harmhad made arrangements the following day to raise camp and start the long march back to the Nile. The sixteen remaining ships were also prepared for the long journey back to the delta of the Nile.
Spring was just starting as the throng of Egyptians started for home by sea and by land. This time Pharoah decided to join his son and return overland while Harmhad would lead the fleet back home.
Part I of Chapter VIII to follow in our next edition.