THE MAGICIAN DJADJEMANKH & THE MAIDEN’S ORNAMENT
The Magician Djadjemankh and the Maiden’s Ornament is another tale from the Westcar papyrus. In the papyrus, it states that was told by Prince Baufra to King Khufu. It’s a story about a magician who flourished in the reign of Snefru. He was a Kher-heb – a lector priest.
Lector priests in ancient Egypt were responsible for reciting hymns and spells during ceremonies and rituals.
The story goes like this…
On one occasion, King Snefru was in a perplexed and gloomy state of mind, and he wandered about in his palace looking for something to amuse him.
Then he thought of the court magician Djadjaemankh, and he ordered his servants to summon him. When the great Kher-heb arrived, the king told him of his troubles and how he needed some entertainment.
The magician suggested to the king that he should have a boat prepared, decorated with pretty things that would give him pleasure, and go for a row on the lake.
The motions of the rowers as they rowed would interest him, and the sight of the depths of the waters, and the pretty fields and gardens around the lake, would give him great pleasure.
“Let me arrange the matter.” The Magician said. “Give me twenty ebony paddles inlaid with gold and silver, and twenty pretty maidens with flowing hair, and twenty network garments to dress them.”
The king gave orders for all these things to be provided, and when the boat was ready, and the maidens who were to row had taken their places, he entered the boat and sat in his little pavilion and was rowed about on the lake.
The magician’s suggestion proved to be good, for the king enjoyed himself, and was greatly amused in watching the maidens row.
But then a paddle of one of the maidens got caught in her long hair, and while trying to free herself, her malachite ornament which she was wearing in her hair fell into the water and disappeared.
The maiden was so troubled by her loss that stopped rowing, which threw off the rowing of the other maidens as well.
The king asked why the rowing stopped, and one of the maidens told him what had happened.
And so he promised that the ornament will be recovered.
Snefru gave the task to the magician Djadjaemankh.
The magician began to recite certain spells that caused the water of the lake to divide into two parts, and then the water on one side to rise up and place itself on top of the water on the other side.
The boat sank down gently on the ground of the lake and the malachite ornament was seen lying there. The magician fetched it, and returned it to its owner.
He then recited other spells so that the water would go back to normal.
King Snefru, very impressed with his magician, assembled his nobles, and arranged for a handsome gift to this clever magician.
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