By J. Speer
Many moons ago, on a starry night such as this, a meteor hurdled through the night sky towards planet Earth. As it entered the atmosphere, the meteor burned down to a tiny object the size of your palm. The object plummeted to the ground and landed deep in the desert sands of the African Sahara. It was covered for a very long time but eventually the winds shifted the sands, slowly pebble by pebble off the nestled object. What was revealed was a mysterious exotic blue stone, the most beautiful in all the world.
One day, the sapphire stone was discovered by a Bedouin crossing the desert with a small caravan of camels. The stone was taken to Egypt. There, it was presented to the great priests of Karnak as a gift for the goddess Isis. A statue of Isis was erected and the priests placed this sapphire jewel in one of the eyes. The other eye of the statue was filled with blue cut glass. This gem stayed in the temple for centuries. It pleased the goddess Isis who preserved the city and brought great wealth and prosperity to its inhabitants.
One night a band of stealthy thieves entered the temple at Karnak and stole the sapphire jewel. They sold it on the backstreets and the gem passed from hand to hand until it was presented by a merchant to the pharaoh at his palace court.
Upon learning of this mysterious new jewel at the courts, the priests of Karnak traveled far to see the pharaoh. They realized that it was the sacred gem of Isis and implored the pharaoh to return the stone to the statue of the goddess. They warned that Isis would curse those who did not return her eye.
Meanwhile, the pharaoh’s wife had grown quite fond of the jewel. She had already claimed it for her own and commissioned the palace jeweler to create a special sapphire necklace for her courtly appearance. Her vanity and pride were so strong that she refused to part with the beautiful blue gem despite the priests’ dire warnings. They warned her once more as they departed that she was in danger of enraging a goddess.
For a time, the pharaoh’s wife scoffed at the ridiculous priests. She laughed at them and mocked them to the entire palace court. Those fools! She thought to herself. How dare they make demands of the wife of a pharaoh. What fools!
Time passed. One evening, a traveling ensemble of Phoenician entertainers visited the palace courts of the pharaoh. They captivated the spellbound audience with song, story, and dance. In the final performance, a wonderous and exotic slave girl appeared. She sang with the voice of a nightingale. Her dance movements were as graceful and swift as a cheetah. She enchanted those who watched, in particular the pharaoh.
The pharaoh’s wife watched the performance and her husband’s sudden attraction to the gorgeous young girl. Her eyes were lit with jealousy and fear. When the slave girl was offered to the pharaoh as a parting gift from the Phoenician performers, she watched with trepidation as her husband delightfully accepted.
It was not long before the songstress had won over the heart and mind of the pharaoh. She became a favorite at the court, much to the chagrin and resentment of his wife. The highest honors of the court were given to the slave girl and she was placed at the other side of the pharaoh. This deeply humiliated the pharaoh’s wife.
One night, while the pharaoh’s wife was sleeping, a silent black raven swiftly entered her bedroom. It had been circling the night sky and had seen the shining flash of the sapphire gem from the window of the palace. The bird picked up the necklace from the woman’s nightstand and carried it off into the night winds. It flew quietly and gracefully to a place deep within the palace where it alighted onto the arm of the smiling young slave woman.
“Thank you,” she said as she petted the bird softly. Her eyes sparkled with mischief. “I suppose we have taught her a valuable lesson.”
The next day, the slave girl was mysteriously gone. When the pharaoh learned of her disappearance, he grew furious and searched her apartment himself. Nothing remained in her room except a small statue on the bedside stand………a small statue of Isis.
Word eventually traveled back to the pharaoh and his court that the sapphire jewel had mysteriously returned to the great statue at Karnak. Upon learning this news, the pharaoh’s wife bowed her head in deep humility for she knew in her heart who the beautiful slave girl truly was. And she knew now that no mere mortal should ever cross a goddess.