The Eye of Horus

21 Sep

The physician was on his way to meet a glassmaker who might possibly help him out of a medical dilemma he faced at the royal palace.

No one had been informed about the visit and its potential outcome.

The tall, vigorously moving man in white linen had decided that the craftsman called Auta could turn out to be his last desperate chance to take curative action to save the life of the ruler named Huni.

Was he on a useless quest, doomed to embarrassing failure? the doctor asked himself.

Locating the mud brick cube house he was seeking, Ranotep rapped on the door. It opened at once, revealing that the resident had been awaiting him.

“Are you Auta, the artisan in glass?” he asked the short, round figure before him.

The fat little man gave an affirming nod. “Yes, and you must be the physician who wishes to confer with me. Please come in, sir.”

Light streaming in from openings adjacent to the ceiling lit up the nearly bare room. Auta pointed to a simple stool that the guest then took. He himself remained unseated.

“How can I be of service to one so highly placed as you, Doctor?”

Ranotep slowly pronounced the words he had rehearsed in his mind for several days.

“As the person in charge of maintaining the health and well-being of our divine Pharaoh, I am gravely concerned by the seriousness of the illness he at present suffers. Let me describe what assails him. I am certain you will keep what I say here private and reveal none of it to anyone.

“He enjoys very little peaceful sleep, but awakens throughout the night. During the day, his head is troubled with unending pain. Our ruler eats little, for his appetite has wholly disappeared.

“His body has shrivelled as the weight of his flesh falls.There is evidence of deep illness in our monarch’s internal organs. At all hours, his moaning is audible. He cannot rest. None of the medicines I have placed in his mouth has brought the smallest relief to him.

“So, I come to you and request the construction of what I consider the last resort.”

Auta took a step forward. “What is it that you need?” he inquired with excitement.

“A wadjet large and powerful enough to save Pharaoh Huni.”

The glassmaker appeared stunned. “My experience has been making tiny glass amulets that can be carried about on the body of a person. The Eye of Horus is a quite difficult piece to produce. How big does this particular one have to be?”

Ranotep seemed to hesitate a short while.

“The size of a fully grown man,” he softly announced. “It must be the most potent spiritual weapon ever made in Egypt. This wadjet must have colossal capacity of healing, for it is to be used in saving the health of our present Pharaoh.”

By now, Auta was breathing heavy, rapid breaths.

“What you order has never been done by anyone. All I can promise is to try, sir.”

The physician sprang to his feet, surprising the other.

“That is all I can ask of you. It must be done with speed, because the condition of our king worsens by the day, by the hour. The future of his reign depends on you. This must be done with success.”

“I understand,” murmured the craftsman, grinning with enthusiasm.

Protective, guarding eyes existed everywhere in Egypt.

On the clothing of both the living and the dead, on the walls of homes and temples.

It had aspects of both a human and falcon eye.

The tale of how his evil uncle, Set, plucked it from the face of the innocent boy Horus was familiar to everyone in the kingdom.

Neither his mother, Isis, nor his dead father, Osiris could prevent the sudden attack that stole the eye. Horus had to fight a long battle to defeat his uncle.

Re, the supreme sun god, restored sight to the youth, who became the first ruler of Egypt.

Legend told how Horus used the magical eye to restore his father, Osiris, to life. Egyptians came to believe that images of the eye could protect one from the evil eye of Set and his followers. Its healing powers were considered absolute.

Ranotep had come to the conclusion that a gigantic eye of Horus, larger and more potent than any ever made before by human hand, was the agent of cure for Egypt’s ailing Pharaoh.

Auta worked unceasingly, night and day, in preparation for blowing molten sand into an eye-shaped mold the size of an average man. That had never been accomplished, or even attempted before in the history of his craft. The project was unprecedented.

On the evening of the final construction, a visitor knocked on Auta’s door.

“I must speak with you at once,” said the aged, bent-over figure in a dark robe of brown.”May I come in?”

The stunned artisan made way for the stranger to enter. Both of them remained standing.

“My name is Suti, and I have important business to take care of with you.”

All at once, the memory of Auta began to operate. Memories from his early life surfaced.

“I was born and raised in Sais, sir,” mumbled the glassmaker uneasily.

“Yes, we know of your membership there in our secret circle.”

“The Setan circle?” whispered Auta.

“Precisely,” smiled the visitor with a smirk.

“I left and came here years ago,” said the glassmaker, creasing his brow. “It has been many years since I have had contact with the group.”

“That is a common situation,” sighed the one called Suti. “Many leave our ranks and make a new life for themselves elsewhere, as you have done.”

“I am no longer what I once was, so long ago,” calmly asserted the other. “No one stays exactly the same as they once were.”

The old Setan gazed directly into the coal black eyes of Auta.

“As you know, the royal government has watchers everywhere in the two Egypts, but my people also have eyes everywhere, even in official places. Word has reached us of what the Pharaoh’s doctor has asked you to do for him.”

The craftsman gave a look of surprise. “You know of it?”

Suti stared intensely and intently into the other’s eyes.

“All with loyalty to divine Set must halt such use of the Eye of Horus. This giant object cannot be allowed to exist. It has to be destroyed at once.”

“I have not finished the eye yet,” admitted Auta. “Tonight it will be completed.”

“No,” loudly cried out the Setan.

His eyes flamed with unhuman emotion that cast an enthralling spell from ages before, from the time when hidden forces ruled everywhere.

“You must obey my wishes,” commanded the old man named Suti.

Early the following morning, Ranotep came to view what had been created.

But as soon as he entered, Auta had a shocking surprise for him.

“I did not succeed, sir, because the glass cracked into pieces as soon as the material started to cool. It was totally shattered, crumbling into small bits of sand.”

The physician felt his head spinning. “How can that be?” he asked. “What caused such a catastrophe to happen when fulfillment was so close?”

The dark eyes of the craftsman grew cloudy and unfocused.

“I do not understand how this happened, yet it did,” said Auta in a voice not at all natural to him. It must have been due to some mistake on my part.”

Ranotep changed the direction of their conversation to the future.

“What are you going to do now? That is really what matters.”

“Yes, I will try again. But that must wait till conditions are right and I am fully prepared.”

“Of course,” nodded the doctor, acknowledging the other’s expert knowledge.

As expected, Suti came late that night to check up on the man who had placed him in a trance.

He asked for a report on what he Pharaoh’s doctor planned, and was given that by Auta.

“His request was that I continue working and build a new model of the Eye of Horus. I was told to complete it as soon as I can, sir.”

The Setan leader sat down on a stool and was deep in thought for a time.

At last, a question was directed to the standing Auta.

“Tell me this: what is the symbol of divine Set? What symbolizes our god?”

The other answered at once. “I would say the hippopotamus. Am I correct?”

Suti made a grimace. “That is one of the signs. Do you remember any other?”

Several moments of thought followed before the craftsman spoke.

“The pig. That has been a common Setan symbol. Isn’t that why the people of Egypt are forbidden by law to eat the meat of that particular animal?”

“You are right. The pig of Set is reduced to its cloven hoof, which is seen as the cause of evil actions and thoughts in humans. So, people will think of Set when they see a pig with its cloven-hoof. Do you understand that, Auta?”

The latter nodded that he did.

“You shall produce an enormous eye of glass for the doctor of the Pharaoh, but we shall include within it certain special hoofs that contain the deadly power of our beloved deity.”

The glass-master felt his pulse growing swift and heavy.

On the following morning, Ranotep appeared and learned that the Eye of Horus had been successfully molded into a solid form.

“It will need a period of cooling that takes only a day or so,” he informed the doctor, keeping secret the added animal ingredient meant to negate any curing effects.

Ranotep promised to have a cart and a crew of slaves available for transporting the great glass object to the royal palace.

“The Pharaoh’s condition worsens,” he said with a groan. “I must use the eye as soon as that becomes possible.” He thought a moment. “There are several priests of the temple of Horus who wish to come here in order to pray and then accompany the object to the palace.”

Auta could not hide the surprise on his face.

“These holy men will be with the object when it reaches the palace?” breathlessly asked the glassman.

“Yes,” nodded Ranotep. “They believe it necessary and important for the success of the eye.”

Suti did not come to see Auta either that evening or the following morning. The job was done, it appeared. The glass was infected with the destructive element of pigs’ hoofs. The death of the present Pharaoh was guaranteed by the added factor that represented the hatred for Horus so deep in every Setan.

Yet Auta worried about the presence of priests of Horus. Could they produce some sort of interference with the pigs’ hoofs? The three figures in temple robes of yellow seemed an ominous sign to the artisan as he led them and their companions into the workshop attached to his house.

Ranotep took command of operations, ordering several slaves to pick up the glass object and haul it outside to the donkey-pulled cart waiting for it. The trip to the palace proved slow and ceremonial, the trio of priests chanting prayers and appeals to Horus.

“As the one who created the Eye of Horus, you should be a part of our procession and be present to witness the effect it will have upon the royal patient,” whispered the doctor to Auta.

The latter replied with a nod, then followed the others out of the house.

At a very slow tempo the paraders made their way to the Pharaoh’s compound.

Slaves removed the giant object from the cart and carried it through a side door of the great Memphis palace. Ranotep entered behind them, Auta at his side. The doctor supervised the positioning of the eye on a large platform a little above the floor of brick.

“The Pharaoh will soon be carried here on a bed,” he told the artisan.

But then the unexpected happened.

The three priests moved into a corner where they mounted ritual cover masks on their heads.

They now were wearing the eagle head that belonged to their god, Horus.

As the priests sang hymns, slaves carried the bed holding Pharaoh Huni into the great hall and set him down opposite the glass Eye of Horus.

With haggard face and blood-shot eyes the lying monarch looked out at the group surrounding the Eye of Horus. Droning chants echoed about, coming from the three with eagle faces on their heads.

A fiery struggle ensued between the two forces. Singing by Horus eagles contended with the pigs’ hoofs of Set inside the great glass object.

Both the physician and the glass-maker sensed the ebb and flow of unworldly powers about the site of glass.

Final victory did not occur that day for either party.

There was to be additional ceremonial enactment the following day, and then the one after that. The battle continued on and on as if there would never be any end to it

But after a month of conflict the Pharaoh started to recover his health. He was able to function once again, reigning for another thirty-seven years.

As he improved, he became a fervent believer in the Eye of Horus.

The reputation of Renotep rose to incredible heights. He was thereafter remembered as a wise and capable physician who had defeated the malicious followers of hateful Set.

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