Egypt

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    “The Moon is like a honeycomb, with a lot of bees on it that feed it and it becomes ever brighter and thicker…” – Zara chattered as she watched The Moon with her binoculars through the dormer of the small attic room of Villa ‘Amon-Ra’. The cottage was perched at a height behind a maple tree, which leaves kept it from the sun and moisture.

    The beautiful ‘Amon-Ra’ was white as a bird on whose wings had exciting sculptures resembling Egyptian pharaohs.

    Zara went slowly down the creaking stairs, walked into the dining room, but found nobody; her parents had gone already out. The girl remembered that they are at the excavations near a pyramid. The teenager was delighted to be able to wander until later. She felt the heat and her tender face was hurting as it was tanned. Zara wore a white linen dress, straw hat and sunglasses, but the sun shone brightly and its rays penetrated through the dress, through the hat, and through the glasses.

    Zara headed for the river, passed by orange, mandarin, lemon trees, plump trees with fruits, finches palms with long green wide-feather like leaves and red dates. She turned back to make sure she was not far away from the villa, and a smile appeared on her face at the sight of the ‘white bird’ – a villa on which wings like guards were proudly sitting two sculptures – The Pharaohs.

    She continued on her path, and very soon she reached the river, she followed it, looking for its end, but she could not see it. The river was long, wide and with many curves, endless… The girl looked at her reflection in the water, turned her hat happily on one side. Something was moving on the surface of the water exactly where her face was reflected. Suddenly a head came out, a head of a large aquatic animal. It opened its mouth, and Zara bristled at the sight of its sharp teeth.

    At this very moment someone gently touched her shoulder, she screamed frightened, and the aquatic animal in front of her dived back and swam along the river. Zara looked at a dark-skinned little boy with a black curly hair standing next to her. The boy told her something, but she shrugged as she did not understand his language.

    They looked at each other and laughed. Zara reached out her hand and introduced herself
    – Zara.
    – Gomidas… – the boy’s voice was heard.
    Zara jumped in joy and spoke in Armenian.
    – Gomidas – like the great Armenian composer, then you are Armenian, do you speak Armenian?
    – Yes – Gomidas grinned – I saw you were looking at the river. You look like an alien, and maybe I can show you around.
    – What was that in the river? – Zara pointed the water – did you managed to see it, a bizarre thing, which it was not a fish.
    – Yes, yes, this is a fish that lives here in the Nile, and it is called ‘African Tiger,’ but it’s a fish.

    Gomidas paused and continued:
    – It eats other water-like ones.
    Zara listened to him with interest, and his pronounced East-Armenian dialect was entertaining her.
    – And, why The Moon has such a strange look today? I watched her through my binoculars, and I was impressed by the fireflies surrounding her – Zara asked.
    – Fireflies, around The Moon? – asked the dark-haired boy, amazed. – Do you mean the stars?
    – Yes, yes, the stars. I did not remember this word in the Armenian language, and so I used the word fireflies. But they are like the stars; only they are here on Earth. They turn on and go out – Zara continued.

    Gomidas cleverly smiled and offered to take her to a secret place. Zara looked at him surprisingly, but her curiosity prevailed, and she said:
    – All right, Baron (Mr) Gomidas, surprise me!
    They walked along the river and reached a great majestic pyramid. Zara stared at the fearsome, raised above them pyramid, and then her eyes stared at the sculpture of a strange looking human head.
    – What is this? – She turned to Gomidas.
    – It’s called Sphinx, a winged monster with a female head and a lion’s body – said Gomidas – but do come on, follow me.

    They walked around the magnificent sculpture of the Sphinx and came to two huge trees with many branches, and many, many leaves. They sneaked between the branches.
    – That’s my secret ‘pyramid’ – said the young charmer and continued proudly – If you look from outside, from away, those two huge trees form a Pyramid and here inside miracles happen. Look how tall they (trees) are; even the sky is not capable of letting its rays through.

    Zara looked up, but the trees were endless, and the light barely dispersed amongst them.
    Strange, unexpectedly, something bright yellow-orange broke between the leaves.
    – What is this? What is happening? – Zara asked, astonished.
    – This is The Moon as if she is approaching us -exclaimed Gomidas excitedly and urged Zara- Look she descends lower and lower.

    Suddenly, Zara and Gomidas sow a big fiery ball, like a honeycomb. Zara reached out, but the heat that the honeycomb radiated forced her to withdraw. Gomidas signaled Zara not to touch, but to watch. There was rustling and light footsteps, an exquisite Gazelle approached The Moon in front of the teenagers’ eyes. The Gazelle cried and made a few sounds. Her yellow-brown coat gleamed against the backdrop of the bright light; her white parts were fluffy and challenging.

    Gomidas stared at the Gazelle, but a strange voice was saying something in some ancient language. Smiling Gomidas recognized some separate words from the ancient Egyptian language and translated to Zara.
    – You are a descendant of an old Armenian family.
    Saying these words, the little curly-haired boy looked at Zara with curiosity.
    – Gomidas, but what is happening, where does this human voice come from?
    – Do not worry.
    Gomidas thought for a moment and managed to ask on Ancient Egyptian language:
    – Who’s talking?…

    The strange voice was heard again, and Gomidas translated:
    – When The Moon touches The Earth, here in this magical and a natural Pyramid created by trees, and the Gazella, our Queen of Goodness, felt her (The Moon’s) warmth, the ancient sage(wise man) of Egypt speaks through them … And all this will comes true only at full moon…
    – Oh, oh – exclaimed Zara – I seem to be dreaming. Did you know about the pyramid of trees?
    – I did not know everything that just happened, though I often come here. My mother Amira, her mother, my grandmother, my great-grandmother also came here…
    – Yes, tell me! – Zara encouraged him, fascinated by the reflection of The Moon on the velvet with a matt-rum skin color face of Gomidas.
    – When I was young, my mother brought me here, and I then heard strange words. I repeated them in front of my mom, and she told me it was the ancient Egyptian language and promised to teach me the ancient language of an ancient civilization. It has been passed on from generation to generation – all in her family speak ancient Egyptian.
    – And did your mother, your grandmother, your great-grandmother have such experiences here? – Zara inquired again.
    – Not everybody is experiencing the same, and if it happens, it is different for different people.
    As they talked, ‘the Honeycomb’ started to fade, and the graceful Queen of Goodness looked with her warm brown eyes, seemed to want to participate in the conversation, but she could not.

    Gomidas approached Zara and instinctively bowed in front of the Gazelle, Zara followed him. When they got up, Gazelle was gone. They heard her light footsteps move away.

    There was silence, and it seemed as if time had stopped. Zara looked around, but she felt the darkness thicken.
    – Gomidas, let’s go because we will not be able to find the way to the river.
    Exiting the Pyramid, Zara touched the leaves as if she believed she was signing on them. The evening was full with bright stars and The Moon – back again in the sky.

    Zara opened the door of ‘Amon-Ra’ breathlessly and met her mother’s anxious look.
    – It’s dark now, little lady, where have you been? We were looking for you, we waited for you, and we were worried.
    – Mommy, I met a little boy – Gomidas, and with him, we examined the pyramid, the Sphinx, and the trees, but I would say more tomorrow when I’m not so excited.

    A beautiful smile passed over Kaya’s face, which she knew the strangeness with which her daughter had surprised her often.
    The smell of banitza (cheese pastry) and coffee woke Zara up the next morning.

    She jumped off her bed and fled to the kitchen.
    – Sit for breakfast Zara! – Her mother asked her, and continued – Yesterday, while we were at the excavations, we were moving around camels with people, with loads and we saw incredibly beautiful Gazella. Your father immediately began painting her by memory…
    – Right? Describe it. Mom, Dad, that’s the Queen of Goodness here in Egypt.
    – She deserves that name – Kalust looked surprised at his daughter – but how did you think of such a name – insisted the artist-father.
    – I saw and caressed her, but I’ll tell you later. Now I’m in a hurry.
    Zara grabbed a piece of banitza and went out not to be late for her date with Gomidas. Her thoughts drifted (were racing), her legs, too.

    She took a deep breath and stopped in front of a dozen kids who were fighting and screaming in the Arabic language. She did not understand anything. Her eyes stared at a gentle hand, a high-held holding violin. Zara felt anxious, approached the group and saw her little curly- haired friend.
    – Gomidas! – She shouted -Why are you quarreling?
    – Zara, please save my violin! – shouted Gomidas.
    Zara jumped, and for a moment she found herself next to Gomidas. She took the violin and startling with a stranger even for herself voice.
    – Don’t argue! – a western-Armenian dialect was heard.
    The boys stopped screaming and looked at the slender chestnut-haired girl.
    – Who are you? What language do you speak? – asked Amal.

    Zara shrugged, but with gestures, she pointed to the pyramids in the distance and headed for them. The impish youngsters followed her.

    They reached the Sphinx, and Zara looked at the Sphinx again, scared, and heard how the boys were laughing at her, sensed her fear. Zara looked at them questioningly, and at that moment her gaze stopped on the gentle face of a little girl, who stood silently.
    – Gomidas – who is this little girl here? – Excited Zara asked.
    – Yes, this is the sister of Amal, Aziza, who is always with us. She cannot talk. Her name is very appropriate to her – Aziza in Arabic means “dear.”
    Zara approached the girl and saw the grey eyes of Aziza smiled. Aziza shrugged her right hand, approached her hand to her chest and bowed, that was her greeting. Impressed, Zara grabbed her hand and continued towards the pyramid trees, followed by the noisy company of the dark-skinned boys.

    Sneaking through the trees, the boys looked around and broke the leaves, joked until a terrible roar of an animal did not start. They all froze in place.
    The roar approached, and a fiery lion appeared with a loud mane. The lion poked his tail and looked for prey. The children trembled… The little Aziza gripped Zara’s hand. The lion whirled around.
    – Gomidas, why do not we put out this lion with stones? And why your friends are not doing anything? – murmured Zara quietly, tracking the lion’s movements.
    – We cannot. Here the lion is a sacred animal, and even my naughty friends will not touch him.
    The boys started whispering something in Arabic, facing Gomidas.
    – Gomidas, what are we going to do? You always come here. Show us your strength, save us from the lion; he is blood-haunted – cowardly ordained the brother of Aziza.

    Gomidas approached Zara and took the violin. The lion began even more nervously to walk around. Zara then remembered about the banitza and threw it in front of the predator. He smelled and swallowed the pastry.
    The children looked frightened, and on the face of little Aziza tears were rolling. The leaves of the trees were trembling.

    Soft music started. Gomidas played on his small violin, holding his eyes closed. There were light footsteps, which seemed to double, tripled and approached.

    The leaves moved, and three slender gazelles surrounded the lion.
    There was a terrible roar. Gomidas opened his eyes, and everyone waited with fear that the lion will attack them. Then a miracle happened. The little Aziza spoke and repeated three strange words.

    The Gazelles approached the lion even closer, who turned and fled. There was a shout of joy, all shouting, but the voice of Aziza startled them again.
    – Aziza, my dear, are you talking? – Her brother Amal approached her.
    She nodded and turned to Gomidas.
    – Gomidas, what did I say a while ago. I heard these words here, and I do not understand them.
    They all embraced the little Aziza. Then the voice of Gomidas overcame their voices.
    – ‘Our Planet. Our Planet’. This is an old Egyptian language, and Aziza spoke first the language of the Ancient Egyptians.
    Zara winked conspiratorially at Gomidas and said,
    – And without translating, I know Aziza said the great words – ‘OUR PLANET!’

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