On a high hill towers a fog-wrapped oak. Its leaves whisper ancient legends to each other.
Atop this oak Zeer, the raven, is half asleep, dreaming of journeys to distant realms.
Now, in his reveries, he is far to the south and deep in time; here, magic heather from Ultima Thule has halted the battle between fire and water.
Yet there is more powerful sorcery afoot – the sign of an incomparably stronger magic!
In the beautiful night, Zeer feels the heather branches twisting weirdly, taking the shape of a strange, winged creature.
Liking to solve the riddles of his dream, Zeer immediately sinks deeper into his musings: he has visions of the faraway Black Kingdom,
of its yellow desert, its pyramid tombs, the steady flow of a wide river. Suddenly the shores break into blossom, birds begin to sing, and a deep buzzing emanates from something in the sky.
Zeer sees a golden beetle with bird wings, singing an anthem to all in creation. Everything is green, shining, and happy.
Without warning, the beetle flaps its wings, and all the flowers and birds vanish… their songs silenced.
Everything becomes still, as before, and the golden shape of the beetle disappears into thin air.
Zeer realises that it had just been the twisted branches of the heather that had appeared as a vision of this winged
creature - a scarab with the wings of a hawk. Now sinking into even deeper sleep, Zeer remembers that the scarab
was a symbol of creation for the wizards of the Black Kingdom, and that the seasons could be changed if only one were able to spell its name correctly.
And so, the hawk-winged scarab was the ruler of time.
Time for action! Zeer soars from the abyss of sleep upwards into reality, and launches himself from the oak branches.
His path lies to the Black Kingdom, a place where metals can be transmuted to gold,
a place where people embalm their dead and where they worship the Sun in the shape of a hawk.
The journey is long – over mountains and valleys, over rivers and lakes, soaring across seas until they fade behind in the distance.
At last, the Black Kingdom appears. Zeer had visited this place before. Many thousands of years ago he had often visited the wise ibis,
Thoth, learning his magic. The ibis had taught Zeer how to become invisible and how to play with his own shadow.
To find Thoth was Zeer’s first task. Thoth would help him, because Thoth, once the God of Wisdom, was now outshone by the God of the Sun
– and the scarab was the priest of the God of the Sun. Thoth would have much to talk about with Zeer
and indeed, the counseling of the two wise birds lasted a very long time.
Thoth told the raven that the sacred scarab had been created from sand and sunlight, and that its wings were a gift from the God of the Sun,
the hawk Horus; that these wings could burn all living things, so it was dangerous to get too close.
However, if the scarab could be approached by one who were invisible, then a secret hieroglyph on its wings might be
distinguished when the scarab started to sing his anthem to the Sun. At that moment, one had to memorise its pattern.
If this hieroglyph is written into the sand, then the seasons would immediately change.
On the day when the sun reaches its zenith, Zeer set forth to the highest pyramid and waited for the sunrise and the appearance of the scarab.
The night desert is silent, but the stars were talking to each other. Soon the first fingers of dawn appear,
followed by the sound of the scarab climbing the stones of the pyramid. Invisible, Zeer froze in anticipation.
The scarab sat on the top of the pyramid and started singing: ‘Khepera welcomes Horus!’
He spread his flaming hawk wings and began beating them with incredible speed.
The pyramid became as hot as molten metal - but what was Zeer to do? He could not distinguish the hieroglyph on the scarab’s wings!
Still, the raven always carried the rune of imitation. Casting his spell, Zeer turned into a scarab.
He became visible and cried out: ‘Khepera welcomes Horus!’ The scarab, taken aback by such insolence, stopped for a moment to burn the impostor down.
But this moment was what Zeer had been waiting for, as he managed to distinguish the secret hieroglyph:
it was an ankh, a cross with a loop on its top! Now it was vital not to burn in the beam-like wings of the furious scarab, so Zeer launched himself into the air.
But it was impossible to escape this way! The scarab pursued the raven, it could not tolerate the
stealing of the ankh. Realising instantly that he cannot evade the hawk’s wings by flight,
Zeer falls to the sand and, quick as lightning, inscribes the ankh. The scarab is too late.
Snow starts slowly falling on the pyramid and onto the sand. The sky has darkened.
Winter is upon the Black Kingdom. Real magic! The hawk wings fade, and the cursing
scarab hurries to take cover in a secret passage below the pyramid. Zeer enthrones
himself on the pyramid in triumph, feeling the snow covering his feathers. His part is done.

Men

COLLECTION
DISCOVER

Women

COLLECTION
DISCOVER