We began to write about queen Benerib with Mummific as a result of chocolate. Yes, you read correctly. Little chocolate hearts to be exact.
So there it was, the pretty little box of chocolates on the table. It was weekend, I had nothing to do, but open a good book and enjoy box of chocolates. And I had found four older chocolate hearts in the fridge as well. I would start on those, as everyone knew you should not keep chocolate in a fridge.
All in all I was planning on total relaxation and eating calories in a delicious form. Not bad, I’d say.
I took a deep sigh, put my book on the table and began to leaf my way to the page where I would continue reading.
”What are those?” Mr Mummific wanted to know.
He had appeared quietly out of afterlife and was sitting in a chair opposite to me. I should be used to him appearing like that already, but I still jumped.
”Mummific! Do make some noise when you appear, will you?”
”But I did. I asked what that is,” he looked at me innocently.
”Well if you need to know, they are chocolate hearts.”
”Hearts? Those are not hearts,” Mummific announced, ”Not to say they aren’t pretty, but they are not shaped like a heart!”
Well, he was right there. Ancient Egyptians wrote the hieroglyph of the heart quite differently.
”And chocolate? What is chocolate?”
”It is something sweet,” I said, ”A delicacy.”
Mummific looked alarmed. I did not pay attention. I know, I should have. Instead I decided to ignore him, and reached for the first little piece of confectionery - one of the four from the fridge. I had forgotten them on a side table and had to take a few steps. I heard the hurried pat-pat-pat of linen-wrapped feet and had a second to prepare myself. Mummific never ran unless I was doing something that broke Maat (the balance of the world), and when this happened I could expect just about anything.
Mummific let out a shriek and pushed my hand off the chocolates.
”Benerib! No, you cannot eat Sweet of Heart!”
”What now?” I sighed, ”They are sweet chocolate hearts, all made for eating. Why can I not eat them?”
”Benerib!” Mummific stammered, ”King Aha’s beloved wife, her name means Sweet of Heart. And that’s what those hearts are too. I am sure it is disrespectful to eat chocolate hearts! It's like you were biting queen.”
”I wonder how that theory would have been taken at Weight watchers…” I mumbled to myself.
Still, I thought it was best to postpone eating the chocolates.
”Ok, tell me more about Benerib.”
”She was much loved by Aha, like I have told you before,” Mummific looked relieved under his bandages now that I showed no more interest in eating ”beneribs”.
”Ah yes, the pharaoh who runs eternally from the lions and officials he had killed for his own burial.”
”The very same,” Mummific nodded, ”She was his great love. When she died before him, he swore he would bury her in his own tomb, and did as he promised.”
”So she was not sacrificed to serve him in the afterlife?”
”No, she died naturally before him. Some illness I remember the Mrs telling me… Not quite sure, as she never stops talking. When you have been listening to the Mrs talking constantly for thousands of years, you begin to forget things.”
I bet that was true.
”So, she was buried in his tomb in Abydos, and had her name written alongside his there. When she died Hor-Aha sort of lost it for a long while. No wife could ever take Benerib’s place after that… Even Khenthap, the mother of his heir, couldn’t. But that’s quite another story.”
”Anything else you can tell about Benerib?” I asked.
”Well, I don’t remember much more. Maybe the Mrs has told more about her, but I am not so interested in the matter discussed in the Great Royal Wives Club. It is cause for celebration for all the kings when they get together. With any luck they gossip for days, and we have a few days off… Playing senet, watching dancing, remembering the good old days… Wouldn't mind Bener-Ib dancing for us, she really is a sweet lady. Still, Aha would not take that well. Yes, he actually manages to join the kings occasionally, when the lions get bored and the officials take a day off.”
I got up, and went to get some more chocolate, which would not be in the shape of hearts. I took it to the study, and then my phone rang. When I had finished discussing on the phone and returned to the study, a part of the chocolate had mysteriously vanished. And we all know who was the culprit…
If you want to read the facts about Queen Benerib, go here.