The Curse of Agnar Sun
By Dwayne MacInnes
It was in the year of 1930 that I was working at the Metropolitan Science Museum under the curator Randal Foor. I was only one of several archaeologists on staff and the most junior at that. Yet, I found that I was able to excel thanks in large part to the mentorship of Randy. I soon found that I was on par with my more senior peers.
Randy -- he refused to let us call him Randal -- was slightly over six feet tall and tipped the scale at three hundred pounds. The curator's massive physique had more to do to his corpulent life than to any physical exertions. Yet despite this, Randy was a busy and energetic man. He was determined to find a sensation to fill his museum's hall. He wanted it to be equal to what Howard Carter had discovered in Egypt in 1922.
This search landed us a treasure of ancient Egyptian origin -- found in all places the Punjab region of India. The telegram from our field operatives informing Randy of their find, unleashed an explosion of laughter and excitement amongst us all.
"This is it!" exclaimed Randy. His face flushed red with his delight from his neatly trimmed black beard to his bald head. He excitedly waved the telegram above his head. "We finally have it. Years of searching and false leads have finally landed us the treasure of the century."
"How soon will it arrive?" I asked.
"A mere three weeks, my boy. I am having it sent by an express train and a fast steamer. In three weeks, we shall finally have the legendary treasure of Agnar Sun -- High Priest of Osiris."
The large curator danced a happy little jig there amongst his laughing staff. We were all beside ourselves with joy and excitement. Randy suddenly stopped in mid-dance and grabbed one of the graduate students from the university who had an internship at the museum.
"Quick, my boy," Randy ordered with a laugh, "to the telegraph office and send off a gram reinstating that under no circumstances shall the treasure be opened until we have it here in the museum."
"Just what exactly is it that we found?" asked my colleague Hornsby a linguistic anthropologist.
Randy laughed and reread the telegram. "It appears to be a small red chest about one foot by one foot bound by blackened iron. There is a red ruby on the top of the lid and a scarab beetle latch on the front of the lid. Nothing more is stated."
I at first believed that the weeks of waiting for the arrival of the red chest would linger on tortuously. However, Randy found ways to occupy our time constructively. Little did we know how much we had to accomplish before the arrival of the treasure of Agnar Sun. The museum staff had to plan and build a completely new exhibit around the high priest. Randy himself was busy building up the public anticipation for the new exhibit in the press.
The day the crate finally arrived; all work in the museum came to a halt. We all gathered in the main hall while the workmen wheeled in the famed treasure. Randy walked up to the deliverymen and began signing the papers. I found myself fortunate enough to be leading the two workmen and their freight to small workroom we had assigned for the chest. As I marched quickly down the hall, I heard the workmen whispering in hushed tones to each other.
"Did you hear about it?" asked the first.
"Hear about what?"
"I was talking to some of the crew from the ship, and they said that there were some strange things going on with this crate."
"Ah, they were just telling you a yarn."
"No, I swear that this is the truth. Couldn't you see how anxious they were to be done with it?"
"Yeah, they were a little squirrelly." The second workman conceded.
"They were saying that on the first day out to sea they could hear something banging around inside the crate."
The second workman almost dropped his load as he heard this.
"That's not all. The knocking continued on for days until it finally subsided to nothing."
A shiver ran down my spine as I heard the men talk in their muted voices. Much to my relief I finally arrived at the small workroom. The two men were very happy to place the crate next to our preparation table. The table sat in front of a small window high in the wall. The window could not be opened, but it did let in plenty of light. There was a single chair placed in front of the table, but the room was otherwise empty. Only a small vent in the far wall allowed for air circulation.
As we departed the room, I made sure to lock the only door into the room before we returned to Randy and the rest of the crew in the main hall.
"Ok, we have much work to do," Randy instructed. "We have only a few days before the public unveiling of the treasure of Agnar Sun the High Priest of Osiris."
Randy thrust two scrolls into my hand on my return. "You must have these translated as soon as possible. Hornsby, you are to stand guard over the chest tonight. You may take it out of the crate and place it on the table, but you must not open the chest itself."
I quickly opened up the scrolls to see what I had to decipher. The first was made of papyrus and had the familiar Egyptian hieroglyphics that any good Egyptologist, like myself, could easily decipher. The second was on parchment in ancient Punjabi. For this, I would have to enlist the help of Dr. Mayes. He was one of my former professors at the university. It was evening before I returned to my small office at the museum to begin work on the Egyptian scroll.
I was excited about this task, so I immediately started work on the scroll. The deciphering quickly consumed me. The hours flew past like birds on the wing, and the sun had long set before I had finished my work. In the end, I had part of the story of the treasure of Agnar Sun. It roughly ran like this:
In the third year of Pharaoh Set II, a strange man walked out of the desert. The man's head was unshorn and he had paintings on his face. He was in the raiment of one of the priests of Osiris. The man called himself Agnar Sun, and he demanded an audience with the pharaoh. His majestic deity reluctantly allowed the stranger into his court.
"I am Agnar Sun and I can make the pharaoh a very powerful ruler," the stranger boasted.
The pharaoh laughed and replied, "I am the most powerful man on earth! What can you do my priest?"
Agnar Sun looked over at a huge stone and raised it just with his gaze. He then lowered it gently back to the ground.
"That is wonderful!" Set II replied.
"Wait I can do more." Agnar Sun looked into the eyes of one of the servant girls and commanded her to dance.
The young girl dropped her serving tray and began to dance as gracefully as one of the dancing girls.
"This is indeed useful. Agnar Sun you are to be my chief advisor, and I pronounce you high priest."
Over the years, Set II expanded his boundaries. His enemies fled at the mere rumor of his advance. Egypt could have covered the entire world if not for the unfortunate and untimely death of Set II in a chariot accident. Agnar Sun was to join his pharaoh in the journey to the underworld.
The other priests and advisors being full of jealousy and fear of Agnar Sun decided that they would take the high priest while he slept and prepare him for the journey to the next world with the dead Pharaoh. However, Set II left a very young son to rule. It was apparent that Pharaoh's enemies would soon attack the kingdom. The young pharaoh needed a weapon. Thus, the advisors decided that Agnar Sun could still serve both the new and old pharaoh. Agnar Sun's heart would remain with Set II to accompany the Pharaoh on his journey, and his...