Ahwere & the Magic Book


An Egyptian magical book
An Egyptian magical book

I was researching something else and was reminded of this Egyptian story. It’s a classic type of ancient tale. Yes, magic is involved. Isis and Thoth are involved. And dead people are involved.

It is usually called Setne and the Magic Book. It’s the one where the son of Rameses the Great, Setne Kaemweset, learns of a previous prince, Naneferkaptah, who aspired to magical knowledge and had discovered a magic book locked inside a series of chests and sunk in the bottom of the river. And now the son of Rameses, also a glutton for magical knowledge, wants it for himself.

I’d seen reference to that story again and again over the years, but I’d never read the whole thing. Turns out the tale is much more interesting than I’d thought.For one thing, the main story-within-a-story is being told by a woman, Ahwere, the daughter…

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