It was morning. The sun was creeping into the bedroom. I briefly opened my eyes to gaze at the rosy sky through the window. It was the same as yesterday, and the day before, and the day before. Nothing to report there. I went back to sleep - perhaps for a minute - and then
Bang! Bang! Bang!
Somebody was hammering on the door. How rude ! At this time of day! Most uncivilised.
Amos, the priest, stumbled out of bed. Cleo - she’s my sister-friend - and I, both stretched out paws.
Before Amos could reach the door to take the bolt off it,
Would you believe that ! They broke the door ! Who are these people? Thieves? Pirates ? Hooligans?
“This is official!” one of them barked out, with all the manners
of a street dog. “We are palace guards. We have orders from her majesty, the Queen Phaeroe. You’re coming with us!”
“No way!” Cleo and I both whined, and we sprang out of the window.
But of course it wasn’t us they wanted. It was Amon. They tied his hands together with a rope and led him away, just like an common criminal.
We cats did not know what to do, so we whined from the roof of the house. .
One of those rough so called Palace Guards threw a stone at us.
“Stop that awful noise you stupid cats!” he ordered, “you’ll wake the neighbours.
That made us both howl even more.
“who will feed us?”
On and on we went, until Lord Ra the Sun God reached his Zenith and beat down on us with his hot rays, like spears, they were. Normally we would hide in the shadows and sleep, but today was no ordinary day.
I said to Cleo, my fellow cat, and sister friend, “I’m bored of whining, aren’t you?”
“Yes” she meowed, “It’s too, too, exhausting, especially in this heat. Shall we have a nap and then carry on whining when the day gets cooler?”
“No,” I said, “Are you dumb? Whining is no good. We’ve got to go and tell Lady Basket what’s happened. She’ll know what to do. It’s called Divine Intervention.”
“Aren’t you the clever one?” said Cleo. Although she’s my sister-friend, under strict orders from Lady Basket, I still can’t help finding her annoying sometimes.
The road to the cat temple was so hot it burned our paws When we reached the gates, we saw thousands and thousands of temple cats, all stretched out, fast asleep, as cats should be when the sun is that hot. It was cooler inside though. A priest was supposed to stop us cats getting in, but he was asleep, thankfully. We crept past until we were at the feet of the great Cat Goddess, Lady Basket herself.
“Oh Great one!” I meowed, “Something terrible has happened.”
The cat goddess opened her eyes that were deep blue like the River Nile, and like the precious stone, Lapis, and like my eyes too for that matter.
“Tell me about it,” she purred, “they’ve taken my gold statue.”
“Meeow! That’s terrible,” we both said, “Who would do such a thing?”
The goddess, you see, is a great big statue made out of all sorts of stones, sandstone, and more precious ones, and inlaid with gold and, ebony, and lapis of course. But she has a little sister. A solid gold statue that sits behind her alter. We both now saw that she was gone.
“Who could have done such a thing?” asked Cleo.
The goddess looked said softly, “They say it was your master, Amon, because he keeps the key to the inner sanctuary. They say he crept into the temple at the dead of night when the guards were asleep on the job. They say he planned to sell the statue to Greek Pirates.”
“They accuse Amon! So that’s why they took him away!” I exclaimed, “But it couldn’t have been him. We sleep at the foot of his bed. He can’t scratch his nose without us knowing about it. “
“Hang on a minute,” said Cleo, “Who said it was Amon?”
‘Simon, the Greek.”
Well that figured. He’s an important priest at the temple. He speaks our language, and can meeow even better than Amon, but he doesn’t like us cats, and we don’t like him. He’s never kind to us. Seems to think all that we are good for is to be made into mummies and sold to the tourists.
“I bet it was Simon the Greek who took that statue!” I exclaimed. “I’m sure he’s got the key too. He’s high up. He would do.”
“And you would be right,” agreed the goddess.
“Please, oh goddess, strike Simon the Greek down,” pleaded Cleo.
“Yes,” I agreed, “you can do anything you please. Send a thunderbolt out of a clear sky and sink his barge on the River Nile, then everyone will know that you were angry with him, and they will set Amon free.”
But Basket turned her nose up at us, just like we cats do. We’re indifferent to most things that don’t directly bother us, you see, and so is she .
“Why should I?” she asked. “Amon will be punished cruelly. It will be a warning to others not to take my things.”
“But he’s innocent?” we both exclaimed.
“Frankly, I ‘m not bothered if he is innocent or not,” said the Goddess, “People think he’s the thief. People will see him punished. He will set an example. Don’t touch my stuff or else! That’s the point of justice isn’t it, to warn off others. They call it a deterrent. “
Well, I was shocked. This was a real lesson for me. I learned for the first time how our Egyptian gods really are. They don’t care about injustice to us mere mortals, humans or cats.
We were more depressed than ever as we left the temple. As the sun went down, we both sat on the bank of the river Nile trying catch a fish. But those fish weren’t stupid. They weren’t coming out of the water to say “good evening” to us cats.
“This is too, too bad,” complained Cleo, “We’re going to starve.”
“Meeow,” I agreed, sadly,
After a few minutes of contemplating our empty stomachs, we began to hear steady a drum beat. That meant one thing. The Temple’s barge was coming up the river to take Simon the Greek on some important business. He always travelled in style. That gave me an idea.
“Where there’s hope, there’s a way,” I said.
And that is the end of this story about Lapis, the Egyptian cat. What do you think will happen to Amon? Will the truth come out?
And I’m delighted to dedicate this story to Neve Niobe and Coltrane They both love listening to our stories on Saturday mornings with their dad David, while their mum Sheila is out running. And I’m interested to learn that Neve’s first name is inspired by the actress Neve Campbell, and her second name Niobe is after a character in The Matrix!) And Coltrane is like the jazz Saxophone player:-) Well a big thank you to Neve and Coltrane and your family for supporting us on Patreon.