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The Great Pyramid of Khufu
I ran across the dusty ground, trying not to drop my water jug. It was my chore every day to get water from the Nile, and although some found this job dull, I looked forward to it every day. It was near the Nile that the women gossiped, the men shared exciting hunting stories, and I met all of my friends. As I walked up to the huge cluster of people, I noticed that everyone was talking even more than before. I combed the huge crowd and found my best friend, Tiye. I asked her what everyone was talking about, and she replied,
“The Pharaoh has begun building his pyramid. He says that it will be the greatest pyramid out of them all!”
My jaw dropped. A pyramid was going to be made here? There hadn’t been a new pyramid build since Pharaoh Snefru! I was so excited that when I got the water and ran home, I nearly dropped all the water on the way home. I ran into our house, but before I could say anything, my mother smiled and said,
“I see that you have found out about the pyramid. Your father has been asked to help build it.”
Today, she was wearing one of the newest wigs; it was braided with jewels randomly scattered. She was also wearing black powder around her eyes, and had stained her lips red with berries.
“Where is father?” I asked my mother.
“He is getting instructions from a soldier. The Pharaoh wants to start as soon as possible, you know.”
I had numerous questions to ask my father, but I was asleep by the time he came home.
The next day, I woke up extra early, and did all of my chores as fast as I could. I got the water, washed our clothes, and kneaded the dough for bread. Then, as quietly as possible, I tiptoed out of the mud house and ran to where the pyramid was supposed to be built. I hid behind a building so that no one spotted me, but one glimpse was all that I needed. There were huge rocks, probably bigger than my house, and thousands of men. They were all dressed in the same exact way; merely a simple loincloth made of flax. There were also huge contraptions that, I assumed, were meant to lift the heavy rocks. The sight was so great that I was rendered speechless, and I couldn’t move. I kept staring at the scene until I saw a general walking my way; I slipped around the other side of the building and ran home, not daring to tell anyone what I had seen in case it leaked out. Somehow, I knew that Pharaoh Khufu was right; this pyramid was going to be great.
It was about a year after the pyramid building had begun and the thrill that a pyramid was being build had faded away. Discussion of it had long ago become scarce, and it was normal for generals to enter our village and request more workers. It wasn’t until the dry season that troubles arose.
The Pharaoh was in a frenzy because they had searched what they thought was all the land, but could not find any large enough rocks for the pyramid. He was frustrated, and anyone who brought bad tidings experienced his wrath. Conversation had once again flared up, and rumors of a prize for anyone who found enormous rocks were flying. Some people said that it was gold, others said it was money, others claimed that it was a mini palace of their own. Although all the stories differed, one element was always the same; whoever found those rocks would be revered and very wealthy.
I was back in my old habits of waking up early not to look at the pyramids, but to look for rocks. I knew that the chance of me finding rocks when the experienced generals could not was one thousand to one. Still, I reasoned, there was always that one out of the thousand.
One morning, when my chores were done, I ran outside to look for rocks. I traveled on a different pathway than the one I usually traveled on. Hardly anyone traveled this way, for the path was rough with rocks rather than smoothed by the feet of so many travelers. The buildings, houses, and people, slowly disappeared as I walked farther and farther on the cobbled path. The area also began to have more vegetation, the more I walked. I must have been traveling for over an hour when I saw a small peak over the horizon. Motivated with the incentive to reach that peak, my stride quickened until it was a run.
After what seemed like ages, when I was out of breath, beginning to sweat because of the rising sun , and exhausted, I saw something that amazed me even more than the pyramid. A tall wall of rocks stretched more than the eye could see. It looked like a wall, and a gigantic wall at that. I thought of what this meant for my family, and felt my heartbeat quicken, but then thought of something, and felt it slow down. How would I ever remember all the twists and turns I took to get here? I thought hard for a minute or two, and then was struck with inspiration by the sight of a stick. I would trace my way back! It would be tiring, but I figured that the prize was worth it. So for hours, I was bent, walking, tracing, and checking back to make sure my mark was deep enough. My back ached, and my dress was sticking to it. The only thought that kept me moving was a large pile of gold in a palace for me and my family.
My eyes were half closed when I saw the village. I stopped tracing, stretched my back out a little bit, and then ran home, almost tripping over a mangy stray dog. I ran in our house, but before I could utter a single word, my mother hugged me, looked at me, said,
“Where were you? I called and yelled, and have been searching for you all morning.” Her voice trembled with anger and relief.
“Mother you have to come, you just have to come right now!” I tugged at her arm but she would not budge.
“Why?” she inquired.
“Just follow me!” I begged her. When she finally gave me her consent, I took her on the traced path, until we reached the rocks. Her mouth opened, and she did not say anything. I looked at her and saw tears dripping down her face.
“What’s wrong?” I asked, bewildered.
“You found it! We’ll be rich…oh I just can’t believe it!” She hugged me so much that I laughed.
“Come on, we have to tell someone.” She beckoned to the direction of the village, and I followed, my excitement rising.
Mother brought none other than Pharaoh Khufu himself to the site of the rocks. He rewarded us with a palace, gold, servants, and a higher class. Life changed very much. We wore better clothing, had a better house, and I didn’t have to do any chores. Even though we were rich, I still visited my old house and invited my friends over to the palace countless times. The pyramid was finished by the time I was about 30 years old. Every time I saw the finished pyramid, I looked at it with awe and pride. Pride that I would be remembered in history forever. Pride that although I was only a child, I helped build The Great Pyramid of Khufu.