Talk Like An Egyptian

Sidey’s Weekend Theme is “a picture is worth a thousand words”.


“I will be carried upon a bier,” said Rameses II, “borne upon the backs of slaves.”

“Ok,” said Rosetta, his secretary.

“I will be buried in a stone coffin, with an exact image of me engraved upon it.”

“Er, ok,” said Rosetta.

“Write it down, said Rameses II (how his surname is in Roman numerals is a mystery), “and make sure to write it backwards, as is the Egyptian way.”

“Will do, boss,” said Rosetta, and wrote “norom” on her piece of stone.

Rameses II was planning his funeral. After all he was 32, and in a land full of poisonous asps, plagues of locusts and nothing to eat but figs (which on the bright side did lead to a huge bowel movement every day, which apparently makes you a better writer), 32 counted as old-aged.

“I will be buried in a large building with food to sustain me, and with my wife for, well, other needs.”

“You will in your arse,” said Nefertiti, a stunning-looking woman clad in precious stones, almost see-through pyjama-bottoms and a Dora the Explorer hair-style. “If you think I’m going to be buried alive on the off-chance that a dead bloke might wake up looking for a quick one then you can get stuffed.”

“Actually I intend to,” said Rameses, “I plan to be mummified, which involves, and I quote, ‘removing the internal organs, removing the brain through the nose and then dessicating the body in a mixture of salts’.”

Everyone stared at him in astonishment. Rosetta surreptitiously wrote “ynool” upon her stone.

“Then I will be covered all over in linen bandages. It seems that this will give me the ability to chase and kill grave-robbers, even though I will only be able to lurch along at two miles an hour and won’t be able to see where I’m going.”

“Why would there be grave-robbers?” asked Rosetta. “What would they steal?”

“Many things,” said Rameses, “because I intend to be buried with all my possessions – my gold, my jewels, my golf-clubs” (yes, it existed even then).

“Balls,” muttered Nefertiti, who had plans of her own for the gold.

“Exactly,” said Rameses, “giant balls of stone. That’s how I intend to keep my goods safe, with traps – stone balls rolling down chutes, spikes shooting up through the floor, thousand of scarab beetles pouring through the walls, camel-shit dropping from the ceiling” (that one was dropped from the final plans).

“You mentioned a huge building earlier,” said Rosetta. “What will it look like? I will have to give plans to the architect.”

“I plan to erect a huge mausoleum,” said Rameses, “It will be rectangular and over five hundred feet tall, dwarfing every other building around. It will be the biggest erection you’ve ever seen.”

Everyone tried to stifle a giggle bar the eunuchs, who didn’t find it funny at all.

“What’s rectangular?” asked Rosetta.

“It’s like square, only different,” said Rameses. “Not all of the four sides are the same length.”

“I don’t get it,” said Rosetta. She handed him her stone (turned carefully around). “Draw what you mean,” she said.

Rameses closed his eyes and pictured what he had in mind. He imagined himself standing at the foot of this great building, staring upwards as perspective, which he had never heard of, made the building appear to grow narrower the further up he looked. He drew it.

“It will look like this,” he said.

They built it as per the drawing. Rameses was not happy with the end result but Nefertiti, thrilled at the fact that it saved the cost of one whole wall, encouraged him to keep it. And introduced an asp into his bed to encourage him to live in it sooner, before he got any more daft ideas.

A picture can be worth a thousand words. Unfortunately they may not always be the right thousand words.

8 thoughts on “Talk Like An Egyptian

  1. Pseu

    Rameses seems confused about his shapes, working in 2D. Poor man,
    Did you know a pyramid is a polyhedron formed by connecting a polygonal base and a point, called the apex. Each base edge and apex form a triangle. It is a conic solid with polygonal base.
    A pyramid with an n-sided base will have n + 1 vertices, n + 1 faces, and 2n edges. All pyramids are self-dual. When unspecified, the base is usually assumed to be square. Wiki does.


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