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A majestic shrine rose up from the desert floor beside the enormous Temple of Amon in Karnak. It was built to honor the Moon God known as Chunsu, also called Neferhetep, the Beautiful Resting One. Beside this large structure stood a smaller one, which was dedicated to a lesser manifestation of this deity, Chunsu The Executor of Plans. This figure, mentioned only rarely in early Egyptian texts, came to be revered in the latter period of ancient Egypt. In particular he was worshiped because of his healing powers. A number of his wonder cures were commemorated in poems to spread his cult. These events purportedly took place in the golden age of Ancient Egypt. The accounts were inscribed in stone and placed in his shrines. One such stone survives and is kept in the National Library in Paris. According to the inscription, it was produced in 1350 B.C. under the ruler Ramses II. However the style of its language indicates a much later date, probably the beginning of the first century B.C.
The upper portion of the stone contains a picture of a winged sun disk, a symbol believed to have the power to banish all evil from the proximity of the stele. Below this image to the left is a large bier; a compartment on the top envelops the likeness of the god Chunsu in Thebes, the Beautiful Resting One, carried forth by eight priests. Before the priests stands King Ramses II bearing incense. At the right four priests carry a lesser bier which bears Chunsu, the Executor of All Plans in Thebes, the Big God, the Dispeller of Evil. Dispensing incense around him stands his priest Chunsu-ha-neter-neg or translated “Chunsu stands at the pinnacle of all gods”. An inscription follows these pictures, which references the welcome embrace of the two Chunsu’s after the latter returned from the land of Bechten. The language used is the ceremonious form found in all public documents. It follows the ancient Egyptian custom first providing honorifics for the king and the date when it was produced.
The translation of the fairy tale, found on this stele, follows the original text as closely as possible, to give you a sense of the language from that period. It might therefore come across a bit strange in English.
Horus (Taurus), the strong bull standing firmly with his diadem, who stands constant in his kingdom like the sun god Tum, the Golden Horus, who is mighty with his battle axe. He cuts down the nine foreign peoples, (he is) the king of upper and lower Egypt, the master of both countries. He is the sun, powerful in truth, and likewise praised by the sun – the dear son of the sun god Ra – Ramses beloved of Amon – loved by Amon-Ra, the master of the throne of both countries (Upper and Lower Egypt) and by the nine gods Amon, who bore the goddess Mut, who created the god Ra-Harmachis, the shining offspring of the master of Ulls, who sprang from the spouse of his mother (a form of Amon), King of Egypt, Ruler of foreign kingdoms, the prince who seized the nine foreign peoples. As soon as he emerged from his mother’s womb he was successful in battle. He issued orders as soon as he sprang forth from his mother’s egg. (He is) the bull with its steadfast heart, from which manly strength emanates. He is a kingly, god-steer, who proceeds from the sun god. His victories are like those of (the war god) Month. His bravery is as great as the son of the goddess Nut (of the war god Set).
As was his habit this time of year, his majesty was residing in Neharina (in Northeastern Syria). Here the princes from the farthest reaches of the earth came to pay homage to his majesty, with deep bowing and solemn countenance. They carried gifts on their backs, one walking behind the other: gold, silver, lapis lazuli, malachite, every kind of valuable wood from the land of the gods (Arabia in the East, the country of the sun god). The prince of Bechten (an unknown country probably somewhere in Asia) let his tribute be brought. He had his oldest daughter stand at the front of her throng of companions to praise his majesty and to request life from him. She appeared as a very beautiful maiden before the heart of his majesty, more beautiful than any other creature. And so the king had her name entered into the registry of his harem, as one of the important princely wives and called her Nefer-u-Ra (the beauty of the sun god). When his majesty arrived in Egypt, he had every ceremony performed for the maiden, all rituals that were proper for the wife of a king.
In the twenty-second month of Payni, the fifteenth year of the reign of the king, his majesty was in Thebes, the city crowned with success, the queen of all cities, to praise his father Amon-Ra, the master of all thrones of the world, to praise his beautiful ceremonies in Southern Thebes at the places where from the very beginning the favorite abode of the gods had been established. They came and reported to his majesty: A messenger has arrived for the Prince of Bechten. He has brought many gifts for the king’s wife.” The messenger was allowed to approach his majesty with his gifts and he spoke and praised his majesty. “Praise to you, son of nine foreign peoples!” May you give us life!” He said this and threw himself down before his majesty and then he continued to speak of his majesty. “I come to you my prince and master, because of Bentrescht (dauther of joy), who (through your marriage) with the queen Neferu-Ra is her younger sister. An evil has penetrated her limbs. Your majesty should send out a learned scribe to look after her.”
His Majesty replied: “Bring me a library scribe and a palace scribe.” They were immediately brought to him. His Majesty replied: “I called you so that you listen to my words. Well and good! Find me a man who is knowledgeable in his heart, is an experienced scribe with his fingers and belongs to your circle.” They brought forth the princely scribe Thuti-emheb. His majesty commanded him to go to Bechten with the messenger. When the scribe arrived in Bechten, he found that Bentrescht had been possessed by a demon and found that he himself was too weak to battle this demon. So the Prince of Bechten sent a messenger to His Majesty a second time and conveyed the message “O Prince and Master! Command a god to visit us to battle the demon.”
This messenger arrived on the first day of the month of Pachons, the twenty-sixth year of the reign of the King, His Majesty, at the time when the festival of the God Amon was being celecbrated and His Majesty was in Thebes. His Majesty made his way to the God Chunsu, the Beautiful Resting One, and said “O my beautiful master! I stand once more before you because of the daughter of the Prince of Bechten.” Chunsu in Thebes, the Beautiful Resting One, hurried to Chunsu, the Executor of Plans, the Big God, the Banisher of Evil. His Majesty spoke to Chunsu in Thebes, the Beautiful Resting One:
“O my beautiful master! May you turn your countenance to Chunsu, the Executor of Plans, the Banisher of Evil, so that he goes to Bechten.” The god nodded his head twice indicating he granted the request. And the King continued: “And may your powerful magic be with him, when I let the majesty of this god go to Bechten to save the daughter of the Prince of Bechten.” Chunsu, the Beautiful Resting One in Thebes nodded his head enthusiastically twice to grant the request and he conferred four times his magic power to Chunsu, the Executor of Plans in Thebes.
His Majesty gave the order that Chunsu, the Executor of Plans in Thebes, should be brought to a large ship. Five cargo ships were loaded from the left and right with wagons with innumerable horses. In this way the god arraived in Bechten after one year and five months. The Prince of Bechten with his soldiers and armies went out to meet the god Chunsu, the Executor of Plans. He threw himself onto his stomach before him and said “You come to us, you make us happy at the command of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Ramses II.”
This god entered the room Bentrescht occupied. He conferred on the daughter of the Prince of Bechten his magic power and she immediately became healthy. The demon inside her spoke to Chunsu, the Executor of Plans in Thebes: “You come in peace, you powerful god, you banisher of evil. Bechten is your city, your people are your slaves. I am your slave. I will go back to that place, from whence I came. In this way I will satisfy your heart, that is why you came here. But I ask your majesty to order that a festival be held for me and the Prince of Bechten.”
The god nodded in approval to his priests and said: “The Prince of Bechten shall bring a big sacrifice to this demon!” While these things happened between the god Chunsu, the Executor of Plans in Thebes and this demon, the Prince of Bechten and his soldiers stood by and were much afraid. Then the Prince of Bechten brought a big sacrifice to Chunsu, the Executor of Plans in Thebes and before this demon, who had lingered for a while with the Prince of Bechten. He called a festival day for them both. Then this demon at the command of Chensu, Executor of Plans in Thebes, peacefully left the place that he loved so much. The Prince of Bechten rejoiced loudly and with him, all the people living in Bechten.
The Prince of Bechten considered the council of his heart and said: I will give this god as gift to the country of Bechten and will not allow the god to return to Egypt.” So this god stayed three years and nine months in Bechten. One day the Prince of Bechten was lying in his bed and he saw the god emerge from his chapel. He had taken the form of a golden falcon and flew up and away to heaven and on to Egypt. When the Prince awoke he was full of terror and said to the priest of Chunsu, the Executor of Plans in Thebes: “This god who has stayed with us has moved on to Egypt. May his wagons also move on to Egypt.”
The Prince of Bechten released the god to Egypt. He gave him many gifts with all types of things, soldiers and very many horses. When they had all arrived in Thebes in peace, Chunsu, the Executor of Plans in Thebes went to the dwelling of Chunsu in Thebes, the Beautiful Resting One. He placed the gifts, which the Prince of Bechten had given him, before Chunsu in Thebes the Beautiful Resting One. He didn’t take a single thing for his own dwelling. But Chunsu, Executor of Plans in Thebes (after all these events) returned in peace to his dwelling on the nineteenth month of Mechir in the thirty-fifth year of the reign of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Ramses, who awards life and who is like the sun God Ra.