But it is when we come to that King Khufu, who figures in the fairy-stories of Zazamankh and Dedi, that we begin to understand what a wonderful thing an Egyptian tomb might be. Not very far from Cairo, the modern capital of Egypt, a line of strange, pointed buildings rises against the sky on the edge of the desert.
And as she went away by the side of the river a great crocodile came out of the water, and carried her off.... But here, alas! our story breaks off; the rest of the book is lost, and we cannot tell whether King Khufu tried to kill the three royal babies or not.
We first hear of temples to the gods under the IVth Dynasty, but of the actual buildings of that period we have recovered nothing but one or two inscribed blocks of stone. Prof. Petrie has traced out the plan of the oldest temple of Osiris at Abydos, which may be of the time of Khufu, from scanty evidences which give us but little information.
Kings of the Fourth dynasty, Khufu, Khafra, and Menkaura, built the great pyramids of Giza, the largest of which is still one of the wonders of the world. Its huge granite blocks are planed with mathematical exactitude, and, according to Professor Flinders Petrie, have been worked by means of tubular drills fitted with the points of emeralds or some equally hard stone.
And then I looked farther, beyond the pallid line of the sands, and I saw a Pyramid of gold, the wonder Khufu had built. As a golden wonder it saluted me after all my years of absence.
The record was made by King Khufu, whom the Greeks called Cheops and who lived thirty centuries before our era. It covered more than thirteen acres of desert which is three times as much space as that occupied by the church of St. Peter, the largest edifice of the Christian world.
The three got back into the little car and Hassan took a road that curved gradually around a hill, past a hotel that he identified as the Mena House, and up to the largest pyramid, once the tomb of Khufu and still the greatest monument in all the world. On a line into the desert were the slightly smaller pyramids of Kefren and Mankara.
These are the Pyramids, the tombs of the great Kings of Egypt in early days, and if we want to know what Egyptian builders could do 4,000 years before Christ, we must look at them. Take the largest of them, the Great Pyramid, called the Pyramid of Cheops. Cheops is really Khufu, the King who was so much put out by Dedi's prophecy about Rud-didet's three babies.
If the object to be gilt were a wooden statuette, the workman began by sticking a piece of fine linen all over the surface, or by covering it with a very thin coat of plaster; upon this he laid his gold or silver leaf. It was thus that wooden statuettes of Thoth, Horus, and Nefertûm were gilded, from the time of Khûfû.
In the great pyramid of Khufu, Rick had read, a channel had been left so the light of the North Star could shine on the altar of Isis. The channel was still there. But in over three thousand years the slight, slow wobbling of the earth on its axis had caused a shift. What was then the North Star was now Thuban, in the constellation of Draco the Dragon.
Word Of The Day