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  • Aditi Saksena

Tales of Companions: Queen Isiemkheb and her Gazelle (S3 E4)

Like we promised

The oldest pet cemetary to be found on record is in Egypt:

The Transcript of the episode:

Aashutosh: Hey everyone! Did you miss us? Cause we sure missed you! Well, we have a whole lot of things we want to share with you, things that happened while we were taking a break and trying to finish our degrees. On the note, as of July 2021, both Rose and I have graduated college and with flying colors or so we think. We can finally give all our attention to bringing more amazing and fun stories for all of you to listen to. We also now have a website that is completely dedicated to the podcast. We are leaving the link in the description below and most importantly thanks to you guys we were nominated in the Top 20 wilderness-related podcasts for 2021, we cannot thank you guys enough for making us feel so special. Also, on a bummer note, we lost our equipment while shifting, so please bear with us for a while, till we can arrange new equipment. There are a tonne of more announcements that we want to make, but before we move ahead with that. Let’s bring to you today’s story from Tales of Companionship!

Rose: Once upon a time, in the deserts of Egypt where water was hard to find but love and respect for animals was in such abundance that they were worshipped as gods, there lived a beautiful and charming queen, Queen Isiemkheb. Tales of her beauty and elegance were spread all across the kingdom, she was married to one of the most famous rulers of southern Egypt- Pinudjem 2nd.

Accompanying her in her grace was her pet gazelle. Although there were no gods in Egypt with a gazelle head, it was said that the personification of the River Nile, the sole provider of water to the entire Egypt, was often depicted as a beautiful woman accompanied by a gazelle. Maybe this inspired Queen Isiemkheb to get a pet gazelle to accompany her. In all accounts that we could find, it’s said that her gazelle always complimented her with its beauty and sophistication.

The gazelle always reciprocated the care and love she received from the queen with her loyalty, it brought a lot of attention towards the queen whenever she traveled with her. Pet mummification was a common practise in Egypt. It was done for various reasons.

These were generally household pets buried alongside their deceased owners or other animals that held special importance to the humans around them. Some mummified animals were intended as food offerings to humans in the afterlife. Many others were created to serve as sacred offerings to the gods. Egyptians believed that when pets died they passed over the Field of Reeds, where they enjoyed a free and happy afterlife and would one day help them when it’s their turn.

It was no different for the gazelle, when it met its end and passed on, it was mummified. The gazelle’s sarcophagus was ordered to fit her perfectly and had a special symbol of the animal carved on it, which was later found with several pieces of rare jewels and amulets. There is still some debate about how and when did the queen die, but they all agree it was as an old woman. Now, we aren’t sure of how this happened: if it were a special request made by the queen or a customary ritual but the mummy of the Queen and her beloved gazelle were both found in her tomb. We want to believe that by keeping the gazelle in her tomb the queen declared that not even death could part them.

An interesting fact about Egypt is that very recently, Archaeologists in Egypt have discovered the oldest pet cemetery on record — a nearly 2,000-year-old burial ground filled with well-loved animals, including the remains of cats and monkeys, still wearing collars strung with shell, glass, and stone beads. It is the world’s oldest cemetery to date. Every mummy shows and proves how much the Egyptians loved and cherished their pets. It wasn’t only the nobility as were the case for many cultures around the world but all Egyptians rich or poor.

Aashutosh: Well we hope from the bottom of our hearts that Queen Isiemkheb and the gazelle did meet in the field of reeds and are out there, together for the rest of their eternity. If you want to read about the pet cemetery that is considered to be the oldest cemetery in the world, you can read about it from the link in show notes on the website, link in the description. If you are listening to us from Apple podcasts, do leave us a review about the episodes, feedback, and criticism and love all accepted here! If you are listening to us on Spotify, Amazon Music or Google Podcasts, or any other podcast hosts, you can always leave us a comment on the website or slip into our dms on Instagram or Twitter. We will be leaving all links in the episode description so that you can easily find us! We are so excited to listen to your view! Till then Adios from Team TWL and Team Khakhed and have a green day!

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