Alice C. Linsley
I promised to tell you the story of the first ruler and so I shall. It is a strange tale about a time so far in the past that there may be parts that can’t be told, at least not until we learn more about the Firstlings. You mustn’t think that I actually lived in those days. Really I’m not THAT old, though doubtless I seem ancient to you.
One day you’ll recognize that this story is more than a great adventure. It is a window through which you will glimpse a world that only the best science – the study of Mankind – is capable of describing. That study is called Anthropology and perhaps one day you will take it up and make a great contribution to our store of knowledge. Until then, let us simply enjoy looking through the window at the Firstling who was called Ra, the father of the first ruler.
You probably are wondering where he lived. It wasn’t a place like where you live. It was more like a very big garden. There were trees of many kinds and flowers such as we’ve never seen with huge fragrant blossoms. There were lakes, rivers, streams, marshlands, ponds, springs and salt water inlets. The mountains were very high in those days and the peaks were covered with snow and often wreathed with swirling fog.
Ra lived not far from the sea, well above the inlet since he knew that water ways overflow their banks after heavy rains. A craggy mountain towered over his pleasant valley, but he never ventured there. That was a place of great mystery and too close to the high heaven, a place where one might intrude upon the High God, and Ra was a cautious man. That is not to say that he was a coward or a fearful man. When faced with danger he had shown himself quite capable of self-defense. He had killed cobras and driven away lions. He had explored unknown lands beyond his valley, even land belonging to the Southlanders. He had saved himself from the great river beast with sharp teeth. He had even fought and won in combat against a man who had entered his cave to steal his wife.
Ra was very protective of his wife. Her name was Ha. She was also his half-sister and the only remaining member of their family. Their father and his two wives had been attacked by Firstlings from Southland. Ra and his wife had scarcely escaped. They ran and ran until they reached the cave where they now lived and they hid themselves there for days. The Southlanders had never come after them.
When Ra returned to where his family had lived, he found his father dead with his face in the dirt. One of his wives, Ha’s mother, sat beside her dead husband. Her eyes were blank as if she were dead too, but she was alive. Ra spoke to her, urging her to get up. He would take her to live with him, but she never moved and never spoke. He brought her water, but she never drank. Finally, he left her alone and buried his father.
When he had finished with that sad job, he returned to Ha’s mother and lifted her from the ground. He began to carry her to a safer place, away from the scent of blood which was attracting the fierce beasts. Ra could see that she didn’t want to go on living and he didn’t know what to say to her, so he prayed:
“Father, here sits the wife of my father and she will not move. Breathe your life into her so she will return to the land of the living. If not, I will have to abandon her for I can’t leave Ha alone now that her time is near.”
Then Ra sat down and waited. He knew that just because he asked for something to be done that didn’t mean that the High God would do it just like that. No, Ra knew that the High God did everything the right way, and Ra didn’t always know what was the right way to do things. So he waited, and while he waited he spoke to Ha’s mother, telling her how Ha was soon to have a child. This would surely rouse the woman, but it did not. So Ra began to build a small platform in one of the trees close to the nearby cliffs. The cliff gave protection from the wind and rain. Then he gathered fruits, berries and roots and wrapped them in leaves. He found an ostrich egg and placed it on the platform with the fruit. He wove banana leaves together to create a pouch and filled the pouch with water. Then he lifted Ha’s mother and put her on the platform. That’s were he left her. Two days had passed and he could wait no more.
“Goodbye, wife of my father. May the High God be with you. I must go back to Ha. She is going to have a child.”
So it was that Ra returned to his wife with news of her mother. When Ha heard how her mother had not spoken, eaten or taken any water, she told her husband that her mother’s spirit was going to leave. Then she cried and after she cried, she thanked her husband for making her mother safe until the time when she would die.
Now Ra had a son and he was determined that his son would help him to re-establish his people in this very valley which Ra and his father believed had been given to them by the High God. Ra’s son was named Ka and he would become the first ruler. He’s the one I’m going to tell you about, and you must think long and hard about what I’m going to tell you. There are many good lessons here that are never taught in school.
Your loving Grandmother