A STORY OF MOSES
Aaron & Family ~ Chapter IV
Went we forth into the places of the Israelites. Ra-mu-ses discarded his priest’s clothing and wore an apron made from the hide of an animal, as this would be more suitable in the journeying he was to take. He wore bands of gold on his arms to show he was not a slave and he now openly called himself Ra-mu-ses. No longer was he known as a prince of Egypt, but a soul from Mu, under the protection of Ra.
Weary was I of the flat land with the dried grasses and mud. Sad was I at the sight of so much suffering. Lonely was I for a smile from the woman I loved. Hungry was I for the clean food of the temple and for the beauty of the temple prayers. Yet must I stay with Ra-mu-ses. I loved him like a brother is loved. I was to him as his people, until he could find people of his own. I saw how his heart was heavy; the joy had vanished from his eyes.
One morning we awakened from sleep and turned towards the place of the rising sun to give praise to the giver of light. Then Ra-mu-ses told me how his soul had fled from his body during the night hours: “I found my people. They are not here in the land of Goshen, but in the place where the hard rock is hewn. I saw there a woman who smiled at me with love in her eyes. She called her young son, my brother, by the name of Aaron. She prayed not to Ra, but to her own God. Her prayer was like a light which came towards me. She prayed to her God for me, her son.”
He smiled with his eyes and his hand clasped mine. How glad we were, for the temple priests had taught us how to have true dreams. By this means we could find for him his people who would take away his bitter loneliness and make glad his heart. I remember how we walked that day, each silent in his own thoughts; Ra-mu-ses thinking of the woman he had seen in his dreams and how from her body his flesh had been fashioned and how lovingly she had remembered him in her prayers.
Thus was it that he found Aaron his brother. The language of the people of Israel was thick. So I did not immediately know the word when a man called for Aaron and a boy went running with a waterpot. Ra-mu-ses spoke softly to me: “That is my brother; that is how I saw him in my dream, and that is the name by which he was called. We will find his dwelling.”
From the mists of memory I draw the thought of that day. Though it was so long ago, the joy of it is with me now. I loved him as a brother. His joy was my joy, his sorrow my sorrow.
So we went to make a numbering (census) of the people. At each family Ra-mu-ses waited for the boy Aaron to be presented for our registering. Came we at last to a man who sat without his door and carved on a bough with his tool. I knew him, as soon as my eyes saw him, by his brow, nose and beard. He was as Ra-mu-ses, and Ra-mu-ses was as he.
A woman came forth when she heard our steps and stood still when she saw us. Her eyes looked from the man who sat to my brother standing there. She spoke words in her own language. Her husband stood to face Ra-mu-ses, who silently showed them his royal ring. Then he asked them their names that I might write down the record of their family. The man had some words of Egyptian, as had all the bondmen. Courteously did he tell his name and that of his son Aaron.
Then, with slow speech, never taking his eyes away from those of my brother, he told how his first-born son had been hidden by his wife among the rushes of the river, to evade the swords of Pharaoh’s men. The child had been found by a princess and lost to them, because they had been sent to the quarry lands to work under the master who still governed them. (The woman conceived, and bore a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months. And when she could no longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river’s brink. Exodus 2, 2-3.)
Can I say in words how it was? The tears coursed from the eyes of the woman who wrapped her arms around Ra-mu-ses with great lovingness. I could no longer see them because of the water that dimmed my vision. Laughter and tears were in the air like the golden sparkles that come when dust dances in a ray of light. They called Aaron. Ra-mu-ses embraced him and laughed when the tongue of the boy stumbled on his name and called him “Moizes, Moizes,” while his eyes gleamed with delight.
So he became Moizes to his people, and knew love from his mother and father and their kind. They were gentle with me, for he said I was his brother. I knew this was not so. My skin was light and my hair was like that of children’s when compared with the strong curling hairs of his people. My hands were small, as was my body when compared with the large, strong bones of his kind.
The father of Moses was a skilled man. He had been sent from the land of Goshen because he was skilled in the working of stone and in the carving of wood. He made for Moses a gift with his own hands. He took a length of wood and hollowed it so that the eyes could see the light shining through the far end of it. It was polished and carved, closed at one end with a plug of granite made to fit the whole. The other end was closed with a golden ball. In it could be carried coins and medicine. Even a serpent could lie within it if its poison should be required.
It had other virtues too, for when it struck the ground it gave forth the sound like that of a small drum. When held erect the light of the sun shone on the golden ball so that anyone who saw it would know it was the staff of Ra-mus-ses. If any enemy attacked him, he would use the end of the staff with the granite plug as a weapon of defense. I wished I had such a staff, for never had I seen one in all the land of Egypt.
“It has been hollowed,” Ra-mus-ses explained to me, “to show the empty years in the life of my father and mother when they had me not. Its end of granite is to show how hard are the ways of this life. Its end of gold is to show how I came from the King’s court to bring riches of happiness to them. The designs on the staff show my descent from Josef, our father who came firstly into Egypt. The Israelites will not hate me when they first see the signs carved on the staff. Now let us return and present ourselves to Pharaoh and beg for freedom of my people, so that I and my family may pass from the land and dwell in a far place where I may raise many sons.”
Thus went we forth again. As once we went from the temple, now went we forth from the place of the quarries, with joy and the expectation of return. The gladness in our hearts was not clouded by any warning there may have been in our souls about the strange ways we would walk before we returned again.
Knowledge of Moses went before him and his name was known to the river people. I thought they must have passed it to each other by signs. Yet sometimes did I wonder if the Israelites were able to converse with spirits, as we had been taught to do by the temple priests Their welcome to Moses may have been because their ancestor Josef had told them of his coming. My knowledge of their words was too small to know what they said. The secret scorn in my heart prevented me from remembering their language. Yet did they welcome me with Moses and gave what food they had, as they touched his staff with their fingers. This was as reverent as had been the fingers of the people whom we had seen reach their hands towards the altar in the temple at On.
I asked Moses how it was that the people knew of his coming, so that they were ready with their small feasts of welcome. He said that their Lord was one of the Lords of Light. But so ignorant were they, and so hardened with toil, that they confused the Lord of their nation with the great creator of the world, as some of our own people confused the Lords of Light with Ra, the Giver of all good. And so they said God conveyed to them in dreams the news of his coming.
Our talk of the Lords of Light made us think of the night meetings in the temple, when certain of the priests assembled and sat in the form of a ring, under the glow of the lighted lamps. From each priest an ethereal substance like smoke (ectoplasm) would go forth until it formed a cloud, from which the voice of one of the Lords of Light would give us wise counselling. One such had spoken to Moses, saying he must prepare himself in all the knowledge of the priests, for one day he would be a leader of men. Even so did we now think of these words and their fulfilment.
“For these people suffer grievously,” said Moses. “I must ask Pharaoh to let me help them. The Nubian slaves could equally well do the work done by the children of Josef.”
ART : ‘ISIS’ ~ King Tut Collection