SCARAB   8' The prince and the sacred scarab

Once upon a time a long time ago in a land far, far away, the
Prime Minister outside of the throne room pounded his walking
stick loudly on the floor and shouted, "Announcing the young
Prince Phillip!"

Prince Phillip peaked his head around the door, then nervously
made his way to the foot of the throne and knelt before the

"Your Majesty," he said softly.

"Speak up, boy!" shouted the king.

"Your Majesty, I have a request." said the prince.

"I suppose you want to marry my daughter!" shouted the king.

"Why, yes! How did you know?!" asked the prince.

"Everybody in the kingdom knows you are in love with my
daughter!" shouted the king.

"Well, then," replied the prince, "May I marry her?"

"Sure!" exclaimed the king.

"I can?!" exclaimed the prince.

"Yes, you can." replied the king, "But first, you must prove
that your love for my daughter is true and strong."

"How will I do that?" asked the prince.

"Go to Egypt and bring me the Sacred Scarab!" exclaimed the

"As you wish." replied the prince as he backed out of the room,
"I shall leave for Egypt at once. And when I return, I shall
bring you the Sacred Scarab."

After the prince left the throne room, the king and all of his
court broke out in uproarious laughter.

"He has no idea what the Sacred Scarab is!" laughed the king.

"He doesn't even know where Egypt is!" laughed the Prime

"He has no idea what he's getting into!" said the queen.

The next day, the prince came to the palace to say goodbye to
the princess.

"Please don't go!" exclaimed the Princess.

"I must!" exclaimed the prince, "Without the Sacred Scarab, the
king won't let me marry you!"

"But you don't understand!" exclaimed the princess, "Noone
expects you to find the Sacred Scarab! Explorers have been
searching for it for thousands of years and noone has even come
close to finding it! Many people think that the Sacred Scarab is
just a myth, that it doesn't even exist!"

"Then, why would the king send me to Egypt to bring it back?"
asked the prince.

"He doesn't expect you to bring it back!" exclaimed the
princess, "He doesn't want you to marry me."

"I... I don't understand. Why not?" asked the prince.

"My father is a jealous man." replied the princess, "Some even
say he's paranoid."

"Paranoid?" asked the prince.

"Yes." replied the princess, "He thinks that everyone is
plotting against him to take away his crown and his throne. He
thinks that the first thing you'll do after you marry me is kill
him and become king yourself."

"But I would never do that!" exclaimed the prince.

"I know that." replied the princess, "But my father thinks you
will. And he will do everything in his power to prevent you from
marrying me. He's quite sure that you'll never return alive from
Egypt. That's why he dared you to go!"

"I MUST go!" replied the prince, "I can't imagine life without
you. Farewell, my darling princess!"

And with that, the prince went across the sea toward Egypt.

Now, the prince was not experienced in battle, nor was he
experienced in exploration or treasure hunting. But he was very
smart. Knowing what the princess told him about the king's
paranoia, he assumed that the king would not wait for pirates to
attack him on the high seas, or for Egyptian bandits to ambush
him in the sand doons. He assumed that the king would send
soldiers and even the palace guards pretending to be pirates and
bandits in order to keep the prince from succeeding.

He was right. Within three days after leaving his home port, the
prince saw the sails of another sailing ship approaching from
the rear. But when the ship tried to come along side of the
prince's ship, his sailors popped up from behind the gunwales
and threw bottles of lamp oil at the attacking ship. Within
seconds, the bottles crashed on the deck of the enemy ship and
caught fire. Minutes later, the entire ship was on fire and the
king's soldiers were swimming for their lives.

When the prince arrived in Egypt, he had the captain sail the
ship up the Nile River to the city of Geeza, where the tombs of
the Pharaohs were covered by the sand doons.

The prince had asked the advice of the wise men of his day. They
all thought that, if the Sacred Scarab even existed, it would
surely be in one of the many pyramids at Geeza. But the prince
decided that, since that's where everybody had been looking for
the Sacred Scarab for thousands of years without success, he
would look elsewhere.

When he arrived at Geeza, he noticed several men following him
into the sand doons. These men did not look like Egyptians.
Egyptians are dark skinned. These men were light skinned, like
the king's palace guards. So, he ran. And they ran. He ducked
behind a sand doon.

Suddenly, the sand under his feet began to sink. A moment later,
he fell through a hole in the ground and landed in a dark cave
down below. Then a large stone fell into the opening above and
the hole was plugged. In the darkness below, the prince could
hear the palace guards talking to each other above.

"Did you see that?!" asked one of them, "The ground just
swallowed up the prince. He's dead for sure. Our job here is
done. Let's go home and tell the king that the prince is dead."

It was pitch black in the hole, but the prince did not light his
torch until he knew the guards were gone for good. When the fire
grew bright, the prince could see that he had fallen into a room
that was built by men. It had cut stone walls, floors and
ceilings. There were paintings on all the walls that seemed to
tell stories about the Egyptians of old. The paintings showed
boats on the Nile River carrying what looked like a casket into
the sand doons. They showed kings from other lands also coming
to the sand doons bringing gifts to the dead Egyptian King. The
procession of kings covered the entire wall and continued around
the corner. In the next room, the prince discovered the same
casket as the one pictured on the boat on the Nile River. This
underground room was a tomb, the tomb of an Egyptian king!

When the prince brought his torch to the casket, he saw hundreds
of the gold gifts that were in the pictures. But he was not
interested in the gold. He wanted the Sacred Scarab. But what
was the Sacred Scarab?! Noone back home seemed to know what it
looked like, just that it was very unusual and very valuable.
So, the prince looked around at the gifts from visiting kings
until he found the one that looked the most unusual: it was a
huge beetle -- the size of a large grapefruit -- with gold wings
covered in emeralds, gold legs covered with diamonds, antennae
of strings of pearls, mouth parts of sapphires and eyes of
rubies. This was the Sacred Scarab!

It was sitting on a pedestal all by itself. When the prince
picked it up, the ground shook, the sand under the pedestal
began to sink, and when the pedestal had disappeared, a section
of the wall near the pedestal fell into the hole. All this
movement uncovered a secret staircase that led to the sand doons
above. After the sand stopped moving, the prince climbed the
staircase with the Sacred Scarab in his backpack. 

After he began walking back to the ship, he felt the ground
shake again and heard the sand shifting again. When he looked
back, the sand doons had covered the secret staircase again.
Noone would ever find the kings tomb again!

Back home, the Prime Minister outside of the throne room pounded
his walking stick loudly on the floor and shouted, "Announcing
the young Prince Phillip!"

"That's impossible!" shouted the king as he sprang to his feet,
"He's dead! My guards told me that the Egyptian sand doons
swallowed him up!"

Then, Prince Phillip walked into the throne room holding the
Sacred Scarab at arm's length toward the king.

"Your Majesty," he smiled, "I..."

Upon seeing the prince alive, the king died of shock.

Prince Phillip married the princess and became King Phillip and
they all lived happily ever after.

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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