King Djet was the next pharaoh to write about. I could not find much information about him, and Mummific didn’t help much either. He concentrated on trying to snatch my coffee mug.
“Do you mind?” I snapped at him, when he tried to steal it for the third time from right under my nose, managing to splash some coffee on my notebook. “What is it with you today? Why do you want to have my coffee mug?”
Mr Mummific peered near-sightedly back at me as if I was somewhat stupid. He often looked at me like that.
“It smells good, and it revitalizes you. I heard you say so on your speaking thing.”
With that Mummific was referring to my cell phone, which I had to keep with me all the time because of his never ending curiosity about it. Now he had obviously overheard me speaking to a friend on the phone this morning, complaining how tired I was and I’d better make some hot coffee so I would wake up.
“But you cannot drink it! Just remember what happened when you tried to drink water in the kitchen. I had to dry you with a hair dryer in the sink. Not very dignified, now was it?” I asked, ”And besides, even if you tried – and even if I managed to dry you again before you began to rot away – this stuff would dye your wrappings into such a state your Mrs would not be happy about it.”
That scared his somewhat, and he put his hands behind his back. Still, I did not quite trust him, and moved the coffee mug further away on the desk, out of his reach.
“What are you writing about now?” Mummific inquired and sneaked closer again.
He stretched his neck, and the resulting dry crackling noises made me fear his head would fall off. For a brief moment I tried to remember if I had any superglue left, should the worst happen, but it seemed his mummified body remained in one piece.
Mummific stared at my iPad standing on its keyboard on the table.
“Ooo… King Djet!” he realized, ”I’ve seen that, you know.”
He pointed at the photograph of the Snake King Stela of King Djet at the Louvre museum – send to me by my friend Heidi who had an amazing supply of photographs of ancient Egypt (which you see here on the website as well).
“You’ve seen king Djet's stela? Where?”
“Well in the museum, of course,” Mummific threw me one of his Looks to assure me I was a bit simple, “I told you have traveled far and wide!”
I had obviously thought he had traveled in his own ancient country, so hearing he had been at the Louvre in Paris was somewhat surprising.
“Oh… Did anyone see you?”
“But of course,” he said, “It seems your little folks can see me, even if most of the grown-ups don’t. Something to do with a simple mind, I have noticed."
I wasn't quite sure how to take that announcement.
"I had quite a fun time, playing hide and seek with one young child there. His parents weren’t quite so enthusiastic, though, when he ran off after me.”
I could imagine that – all the guards and parents could see was their own child running madly in a museum full of ancient priceless artifacts. The very thought gave me shivers.
“Do you know King Djet?” I turned my thoughts away from the threat to the ancient artifacts by a child and a mummy, who seemed to behave like an ancient child as well.
“Well… know and know… King Djet is not very sociable, to be frank. Stays a lot with his father Djer, and they reminisce old times. His mother Herneith is much more sociable, and visits the Great Royal Wive’s club frequently. She doesn’t speak much but it seems she is bored of listening about the great deeds of the kings. Which is odd – what could be more interesting than the stories of war, and killing, and expanding the kingdom?”
I better not answer that – personally I thought nothing was more interesting, but I suppose if a lady had not studied history all their lives, listening to such talk just might be a bit boring. Especially as it was likely the stories grew each time they were told.
“That serekh there…” Mummific’s finger pointed at the stele, “The snake is “dj”, and the bird is Horus. So King Djet's name means the Serpent of Horus. You know... a serpent that strikes? Like a king strikes against his enemies?”
“Djet died before his successor was old enough to rule, so his wife Merneith became regent until Den was old enough. He doesn't elaborate on how he died, so we suspect it was not in battle. Kings find it rather embarrassing to die out of an ordinary illness, but this is rumored to be the case.”
“It seems he too was buried at Abydos,” I leafed through my book about the pharaohs.
“Of course, the first kings all were. This snake stele comes from near his tomb as well,” Mummific said, “There was an offering place for all the kings buried there, and they all had their stelae erected in it with their Horus name, so people could come and make offerings to them. You know, food and drink and insence and all that.”
“Hmm…” I was writing down information about Djet and Mummific finally saw his window of opportunity. He disappeared under the table without me noticing, popped his head up on the opposite side of the table, and grabbed my coffee mug before I noticed.
“Give that back!” I reached for my cup, but Mummific was surprisingly fast for someone who had been dead for thousands of years. He retreated triumphantly with my mug, lifted it towards his face and… Smelled it. And smelled it again. He did not drink it and I did not need to carry him to the bathroom to dry him again with the hair dryer.
“What are you doing?” I wanted to know.
“Like you said we – the mummies – cannot eat or drink anymore. But what we can do, is take the essence of the offerings. It nourishes us in the afterlife. And I can already feel the effect of this one! Yes indeed!” Mummific rocked back and forth of the balls of his feet, which again caused an alarming array of crackling noises.
“I see. Allright then, come and sit here and I small make you your own cup of coffee, if you promise to sit still while you… smell it.”
“Most satisfying,” Mummific accepted the offer and came to sit on a chair next to mine. I went to the kitchen and started making some fresh coffee.
“Where did you get this picture again?” Mummific's voice inquired from the dining room.
“From my friend Heidi in Facebook.”
“A book of what? Faces? Why do you need a book of faces? Do you not remember your friends otherwise?”
“Errr… No… It is like having conversations where all your friends can take part in,” I tried to explain, “There on the world wide… scroll. You write, they see what you write, and can comment on it. Instantly, if they are online... I mean if they have the Faceboo... scroll open at the same time.”
“So it is Face Scroll then? You modern people are odd. If we wanted to see a friend, we went to see them. Or in my case, we invited them over. They always came. No one said no to a king. And if we wanted to have a conversation, we talked face to face. Not to any faces in a scroll. And we got instant answers as well. On top of that we could have a delicious meal and drink good beer and wine. Can you do that on Face Scroll?”
“Well… No… If pictures of our drinks and dinners don’t count. We do show a lot of those in Face...scroll...”
“Pictures? Well, that might do… I mean we painted food and drink on our tomb walls so that we would always have nourishment in the afterlife. The same thing as smelling the coffee... You have somehow managed to do the same here, in the land of the living? That sounds great – no one will be hungry again, you just send them a picture of a goose, and they can eat it? Wise thinking…”
Before analyzing Facebook went any further, I hurried back with two hot mugs of coffee. While Mummific smelled his with eyes closed out of sheer enjoyment, I rescued my iPad, checked he had not managed to send some odd message to anyone on Facebook (sorry, if someone got an odd message of mismatched alphabets – that wasn’t me- it was him) and continued writing my article on king Djet.
Oh, and one more word of warning – the mummies really can take in the essence of food and drink. In this case strong coffee. Have you ever seen a mummy with a caffeine rush? No? Trust me. You don’t want to.
I’m still cleaning up after Mummific after he ran around the apartment like a deranged, tightly wrapped bag of bones yelling revenge to the Nine Bows (that means the enemies of Egypt) using most foul language (thankfully in ancient Egyptian so much of the nuances were lost to me), and trying to spear my cats with a broomstick I use to stretch my back and shoulders. And he was still holding the coffee mug while managing these feats of bravery. Which means I have been wiping coffee off the floor, the walls and furniture. And lifting cats off chandeliers, and trying to make them come back to the land of the living from under the bed.
Coffee and mummies just don’t match…
But I did get my king Djet-page together eventually, you can read it here.
Thank you, Heidi Kontkanen, for permission to use your photographs.