BunniHoTep and the Graffiti Artist

Once upon a time in the city of Memphis a strange symbol started appearing on the sides of temples. They found it carved on grain warehouses. They found it carved in the sides of house walls. They started to find it carved everywhere.

This worried the people and it was beginning to worry the gods and goddesses. It was three spirals close together each facing outward. No one had ever seen it before. What did this strange graffiti mean and who was doing it?

The deities had a meeting. They had to know who was defacing their temples. Was it a curse? Was it a blessing? Did it mean anything at all?

So they decided BunniHoTep should find the culprit. She was the Finder of Lost Objects, how big a step was it to finding the person or being responsible for this symbol? Besides this symbol was being found very close to the ground not far above BunniHoTep’s head surely this was a job for her?

So BunniHoTep thought that since her Temple hadn’t been decorated yet she would sit on the Temple porch and sip of cup of chamomile tea and wait. She really didn’t have to wait too long before she spotted a small red- haired child at the side of the porch. So she sat and watched and sipped her tea to see what the child would do.

The child had hair that looked to be on fire and the only place BunniHoTep had seen hair like that was on the Delta when she watched the ships come in. What was a child that looked like that doing here? The child looked very out of place with her very pale skin and hair.

The small girl took out a small chisel and started to carve the symbol. BunniHoTep watched and waited. She kind of liked the design so she didn’t really want to stop her. The child carved intently with her tongue poking out the side of her mouth as she concentrated. As the child appeared to be finishing her carving BunniHoTep stood beside her. “ Why are you doing that?” BunniHoTep asked and indicated the newly carved spirals. The child jumped and quickly hid the chisel in her tunic.

BunniHoTep could see the child had been crying by the tracks of her tears down the slightly dirty face. “I want to go home!” the child burst out. BunniHoTep was a moved by this. It wasn’t the answer she expected at all. “Where is your home?”

“I don’t know! Very, very, very far away, I’m so lost!” the child cried.

BunniHoTep heard that magic word “lost” and her heart broke. She knew that wherever that child was from it wasn’t anywhere in Egypt. “How did you get here and what are those symbols?”

The child was sobbing now and BunniHoTep guided her into the Temple to a soft pillow and sat the child down. The child’s sobs started to subside to hiccups. “I… I… I was on a boat that sank with my family. I’m the only one left.” The child continued to sob quietly. BunniHoTep said gently, “Can you tell me your story if I give you a cup of tea and a biscuit?” The child nodded.

The child held the cup in both hands and started, “My mum and dad were traders from a place that is a long ways away. Where I live it is green and lovely. We have mountains and lots of streams. We have bunnies like you we call conies and deer and tiggies and ….” BunniHotep held her hand up and stopped the flood of speech. “Could you slow down and tell me how you got here and what your name is?”

“Oh, My name is Sesi and our boat sank in the sea. We had a storm. I think Taranis was mad at us.” BunniHoTep had no idea who Taranis was but she let the child speak. “I was on a big box and it floated into the harbour and I got off. I lost everyone else.” The child looked sadly at BunniHoTep. “And?” said BunniHoTep, “How did you get here?”

“I walked. No one would help so I followed a group of traders and I ended up here. I’ve been hiding ever since. The animals here are very strange not like home at all.”

“If I can send you home will you go?” BunniHoTep asked. “And why do you keep carving those spirals?”

“You have so many goddesses and gods here I thought they wouldn’t mind if I made the mark of the goddess I love, she’s very beautiful and they say I look like her. No one here looks like me. My mama used to mark my forehead with it before I slept and I missed it.”

“Who is your goddess?” BunniHoTep asked. She always liked knowing about new goddesses that could be new friends.

“Her name is Brighid and she has red hair and she has a big hammer, and a spindle and she sometimes has wheat and and she has a flame that never goes out and and and she protects the wells and springs and she has three ways of appearing to us. She can be old or like my mama or very young like my sisters. I have one thing left of my own and it belonged to her.” The child held out the battered stump of a sad looking beeswax candle. BunniHoTep was intrigued when the child finally ran out of words. She’d never heard of a goddess that could be three ways and she was very glad the child had stopped crying. And she wanted know what was special about a candle.

“Why did you keep a candle?” BunniHoTep asked.

“Because my mom used to have us keep vigil by the candle once every 20 days for people who needed help, and so that Brighid’s light is always in the world to remind us to care for others.” BunniHoTep thought that was a lovely idea and she also thought that Isis might like people to keep a flame in her Temple too.

BunniHoTep needed to think for a moment so she asked the nearest Priestess to take her new friend for a good wash and a new tunic. She promised the child she wouldn’t leave and that they would talk in awhile when she had a solution. So BunniHoTep pondered and pondered. She decided to take the child back to the harbour and see if any of Kanin’s friends were around to take her home. So they made their way back up the Nile and on the way they lit the candle to remember people’s hurts and they spread the flame to other lamps in Temples on the river. When they got to the harbour they were almost finished building a new ship of strange design. Sesi started to run. “Mhathair! Athair! A very tall man and woman came running and grabbed Sesi and swung her in their arms.

The man looked down at rabbit who had finally caught up. “Did you bring her back to us?”

BunniHoTep replied smiling, “I was going to try to find someone to take her home but I see now I don’t have to do that.”

“Thank you, for taking care of Sesi.” Sesi’s parents said.

“I thank her for teaching me about Brighid and her flame. We will keep it safe here in Isis’s and my Temple. Goodbye Sesi! Safe journey!”

“Beannacht leat!” and the family got ready to sail.