Interview with Khnum
Thutmose III: Hello and welcome to National Egypto-graphic: the Creation Edition. I'm your host, Pharaoh Thutmose III, and we've got a special guest today in our studio. He's quite the high-profile character. With a ram's head and a studly man's body, he's also quite the catch for his goddess wives. He has magical and creative powers and he's had a lot of influence on the land of Egypt as we know it. Ladies and gentleman, please welcome Khnum!
Khnum: Thanks so much for having me, Thutmose. I appreciate you taking the time from defacing Hatshepsut's monuments to invite me.
Thutmose III: Hey, now. That's not quite fair. I only chiseled her name off of her buildings because she usurped my throne. What's it to you?
Khnum: What do you mean, what's it to me? Have you ever seen Hattie's mortuary temple? It shows her father, the god Amun, asking me to create a perfect pharaoh for Egypt. I did what he told me, and out came your sister. She was one of my favorites.
Thutmose III: Uh… Sorry about that, old chap. Forgive me?
Khnum: Eh, I guess so. But I could use a new potter's wheel. Mine's getting a bit old.
Thutmose III: Done. Now, on to the good stuff. Khnum, can you tell us a bit about what your day-to-day is like?
Khnum: Sure. I spend most of my time sitting at my potter's wheel, creating humans, beasts, and every living thing out of clay. Technically, I create their kas, which are the forces of life within each person.
Thutmose III: Really? So, technically, even I—or my ka—was once clay?
Khnum: Yup. I remember when I was making you. That particular piece of clay was a bit tough around the edges.
Thutmose III: That sounds about right. So you're a big supporter of Nile clay, then?
Khnum: You betcha. That's where I get all my materials. I just scoop up a bit of mud and start my work. I even get into mudfights.
Thutmose III: You've got another connection to the Nile, too, right?
Khnum: You took the words right out of my mouth. I'm also associated with the Inundation, when the Nile floods and spews up all this black dirt. That silt fertilizes the land and allows Egypt to grow all of its crops.
Thutmose III: Yeah. Hey, by the way, what's the deal with the horns?
Khnum: What do you mean? I'm a ram. At least, I am on the top part of my body. I've got wavy horns, unlike those of the god Amun, whose horns are curly!
Thutmose III: Gotcha. So, what do you do in your spare time?
Khnum: I like helping out other gods. For example, I built boats and ladders for the gods. I'm kind of a construction whiz, you know.
Thutmose III: So that's why I sometimes see you helping Ra, the sun god, in his boat journey across the sky?
Khnum: You got it! I'm also called the "ba of Ra," meaning I'm the sun god's soul. Pretty good, huh?
Thutmose III: I agree with you. Okay, so now we'll have some fun. Let's play a free association game. I'll say a word or phrase, then you say the first thing that pops into your head. Okay?
Khnum: Sounds good.
Thutmose III: All right. First one: pharaoh.
Thutmose III: Good one. I approve, as a pharaoh. Next: wife.
Khnum: Lots of them!
Thutmose III: I agree. I've got more wives than I can count.
Khnum: I've got different wives depending where I'm worshipped. It can be hard to remember who's who sometimes.
Thutmose III: Cat.
Thutmose III: Fair enough. Finally: Egypt.
Khnum: The greatest place on Earth.
Thutmose III: Khnum, I couldn't agree with you more. I want to thank you for taking the time to visit us today. On next week's episode, we'll be talking with Nut, goddess of the sky, about what she's up to when we're sleeping. See you soon!