An exhibition of a replica of King Tut’s tomb is coming to Dublin. This is typical of how our stock has fallen (literally, actually) with the rest of the world. There was a time, when Dublin was the cool capital of the world, when Tut himself would have come. Now they’re sending us what is basically his tribute band.
We’ve all heard of the legend of the Curse that afflicted those who entered Tut’s tomb. Since the exhibition’s website promises that “visitors can relive the exciting events of the historic excavation” some teachers may be reluctant to organise school trips to the show.
They need have no fear. Since it’s only a replica of the tomb, we’re only getting a replica of the curse.
The first victim was, of course, Tut himself, who died at the age of just 19 and was ensconced in a room for all eternity. In our replica version, many teenagers dragged along on school trips will feel as if they’d died and gone to hell, and the whole thing will seem to take an eternity.
Since Howard Carter, then man who led the original break-in, survived the curse then the teacher who drags the class along is probably safe. In order to bolster the story of the curse, however, much is made of the fact that Carter’s canary was attacked and killed by a King Cobra around the time of the opening of the tomb. I’m not sure that this is a curse, I’m guessing that in most canary v cobra contests the snake comes out on top. If Howard’s pet cobra had been killed by a canary I’d have been more convinced.
A neighbour heard a piercing scream at the very moment that the canary died. If she had heard a squeaky voice say “I thought I thaw a thagging big thnake” it would have been more curse-like, or at least funnier.
Perhaps the teacher should probably make sure that she keeps her pet budgie away from cats, just to be on the safe side.
The star of the show is Lord Carnarvon, financier of the exhibition, who died just six months after the opening of the tomb. He was only 57, which sounds tragically young (especially to those of us a mere four years short of that age), until you consider that the average life expectancy at the time was 53.6, (you learn a lot from this blog) and that, being a lord, he probably suffered from gout and inbreeding in any case (I am basing this theory purely on PG Wodehouse novels). If he had been over-run and swallowed up by big black beetles the size of your computer mouse, as happens to practically everyone in The Mummy, then fear of the curse would still be alive and well, unlike Lord Carnarvon.
In fact he died of malaria after being bitten by a mosquito. Sad, but not exactly unique.
In our replica version it is probably unwise to buy a Snickers bar if you have a peanut allergy.
So, nothing to worry about. The curse of Hello! is much more frightening. Since I only get to read it in my dentist’s waiting room, something bad and painful normally happens immediately afterwards.