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English CBSE Class 11 NCERT Hornbill Chapter 3 Discovering Tut: The Saga Continues Line by Line Explanation and Meaning of Difficult Words

DISCOVERING TUT: THE SAGA CONTINUES

(Explanation)

 

Notice these expressions in the text. Infer their meaning from the context.

forensic reconstruction Scientific rebuilding of past events
scudded across Moved quickly
casket grey Light black or grey colour
resurrection Bringing someone back to life
funerary treasures Costly items placed in the coffin
circumvented Dodged, Avoided
computed tomography Images made in CT scan
eerie detail Mysterious details

He was just a teenager when he died. The last heir of a powerful family that had ruled Egypt and its empire for centuries, he was laid to rest laden with gold and eventually forgotten.

Word Meaning
Heir Descendant, Inheritor
Laid to rest Cremated
Laden with Carrying large quantity
Eventually Finally, At last

He died at a young age. He was the heir of a powerful family. The family was ruler of Egypt and its empire. The family had ruled it since many centuries. During his cremation, many ornament of gold were put on him. Finally, after many days nobody remembered him.

 

Since the discovery of his tomb in 1922, the modern world has speculated about what happened to him, with murder being the most extreme possibility.

Word Meaning
Tomb Structure built on a grave
Speculated Guessed,
Most extreme Most unlikely

His tomb was discovered in 1992. The modern world is trying to guess what could have caused his death. It is felt that murder is the most unlikely cause of his death. Name of the person buried under the tomb is Tut.

 

Now, leaving his tomb for the first time in almost 80 years, Tut has undergone a CT scan that offers new clues about his life and death — and provides precise data for an accurate forensic reconstruction of the boyish pharaoh.

Word Meaning
CT scan Taking image of internal parts of body
Clues Hints
Precise Accurate
Forensic Scientific investigation of crime
reconstruction Rebuilding of past events
Pharoah Ruler of Egypt

After 80 years from taking out corpse of Titu from his tomb, CT scan has been done. This may give some more hints about life and cause of his death. This may provide accurate data about events that caused death of this boy king of Egypt.

 

AN angry wind stirred up ghostly dust devils as King Tut was taken from his resting place in the ancient Egyptian cemetery known as the Valley of the Kings.

Word Meaning
Angry wind Strong wind
Stirred up Started
Ghostly Dangerous
Dust devils Wind full of dust
Resting place Tomb
Valley of the Kings Valley where kings of Egypt were cremated

A strong wind started a dangerous storm full of dust. This happened while corpse of King Tut was being taken out from the tomb. Here only the kings of Egypt were cremated. So the place was known as valley of the Kings.

 

Dark-bellied clouds had scudded across the desert sky all day and now were veiling the stars in casket grey. It was 6 p.m. on 5 January 2005.

Word Meaning
Belly Stomach
Scudded Moved quickly
Veiling Hiding
Casket grey Light black or grey colour

Clouds appeared black from the Earth. During whole day these were moving quickly in the sky of the desert. Now it was 6 PM on 5th January 2005. The clouds had hidden the stars. Colour of the sky was light grey.

 

The world’s most famous mummy glided head first into a CT scanner brought here to probe the lingering medical mysteries of this little understood young ruler who died more than 3,300 years ago.

Word Meaning
Glided Moved, Slid
CT scanner Machine for CT scan
Probe Investigate, Enquire
Lingering Pending, Unknown
Mysteries Secrets

The most famous mummy of the world was put into the CT scanner machine. The head of the mummy was put first. The mummy was brought to investigate the secrets yet to be discovered about the young ruler. This ruler, Tut, had died more than 3300 year ago.

 

All afternoon the usual line of tourists from around the world had descended into the cramped, rock-cut tomb some 26 feet underground to pay their respects.

Word Meaning
Descended Reached
Cramped Small, Narrow, Tiny

During the afternoon, as usual, tourists from all over the world had gathered around the tomb. The tomb is very narrow and it is made by cutting a rock. It is 26 feet below the ground. All the tourist had come there to pay their respect to the young king.

 

They gazed at the murals on the walls of the burial chamber and peered at Tut’s gilded face, the most striking feature of his mummy-shaped outer coffin lid.

Word Meaning
Gazed Stared
Murals Painting on wall
Burial chamber Room where somebody is  buried
Peered Looked carefully, Looked intently
Gilded Golden or covered with gold
Most striking Most noticeable, Most important

The tourists stared at the painting made on the wall of the room where Tut was buried. They carefully looked at the golden coloured face of Tut. This was the most noticeable aspect visible from the lid of coffin. The coffin was shaped like a mummy.

 

Some visitors read from guidebooks in a whisper. Others stood silently, perhaps pondering Tut’s untimely death in his late teens, or wondering with a shiver if the pharaoh’s curse death or misfortune falling upon those who disturbed him — was really true.

Word Meaning
Guidebook Book having information about the place
Pondering Thinking carefully,
Untimely death Unexpected death
Shiver Tremble, Quiver, Fear
Misfortune Bad luck

Some visitors were reading the guidebook in a low voice. Others were standing silently as if thinking carefully about the unexpected death of Tutu during his teenage. They were also thinking with a fear if the curse associated with the mummy was really true. It was believed that anybody who disturbed the pharaoh would either die or have bad luck.

 

“The mummy is in very bad condition because of what Carter did in the 1920s,” said Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, as he leaned over the body for a long first look.

Zahi Hawas was a high level officer of the department that took care of old monument in Egypt. He was the first person among the visitors to bend and to look carefully at the mummy. He looked at it for a long time. He declared that condition of the mummy is bad because of damaged caused by Carter to it in 1920s.

 

Carter—Howard Carter, that is — was the British archaeologist who in 1922 discovered Tut’s tomb after years of futile searching. Its contents, though hastily ransacked in antiquity, were surprisingly complete.

Word Meaning
British Resident of Britain
Archaeologist Person who studies history through old monuments
Futile Unsuccessful, Ineffective
Hastily Quickly, Hurriedly, Without any thinking
Ransacked Damaged,
Antiquity Ancient times

Full name of Carter was Howard Carter. He was a British archaeologist. He had discovered the tomb of Tut after years of unsuccessful searching. The contents of the mummy were damaged because of actions taken without much thinking. But all the contents of the mummy were available. Nothing had been taken away.

 

They remain the richest royal collection ever found and have become part of the pharaoh’s legend.

Word Meaning
Legend Tradition

The contents of the mummy are the richest contents of a royal family ever found. These are the part of the tradition of pharaoh.

 

Stunning artefacts in gold, their eternal brilliance meant to guarantee resurrection, caused a sensation at the time of the discovery — and still get the most attention.

Word Meaning
Stunning Brilliant, Extraordinary
Artefact Ornament of ancient time
Eternal Everlasting
Resurrection Bringing someone back to life
Sensation Interest, Excitement

Extraordinary ornaments of gold of everlasting beauty were placed in the mummy. It was believed that these ornaments would guarantee that someday pharaoh would be alive again. When the tomb was discovered, this belief caused lot of interest and excitement. Even today, lot of attention is paid to this belief.

 

But Tut was also buried with everyday things he’d want in the afterlife: board games, a bronze razor, linen undergarments, cases of food and wine.

Word Meaning
Afterlife Life after death
Board game Game played on board like Ludo, chess
Linen Cloth
Cases Boxes

Tut was buried with almost everything he might need during his life after death. Board games, a bronze razor, undergarments  and boxes full of food and wine were place in his grave.

 

After months of carefully recording the pharaoh’s funerary treasures, Carter began investigating his three nested coffins.

Word Meaning
Recording Documenting, Wrote in detail
Funerary Pertaining to funeral
Nested Placed an object within another

Crater carefully made a record of every valuable item found in the tomb of pharaoh. It took many months to complete this task. After that he started investigating the three coffins which were placed within another coffin. In the first coffin there was second coffin. And in the second coffin there was third coffin.

 

Opening the first, he found a shroud adorned with garlands of willow and olive leaves, wild celery, lotus petals, and cornflowers, the faded evidence of a burial in March or April.

Word Meaning
Shroud Cloth usually worn over body 
Adorned Decorated
Willow Type of a tree
Olive Type of a tree
Wild celery Type of a tree
Petals Leaves of a flower
Cornflowers Flowers of corn
Faded Unclear, Probable
Evidence Proof, Confirmation

When Carter opened the first coffin, he found a cloth spread inside it. The cloth was decorated with garlands made of leaves and flowers. It was an unclear evidence that the burial had taken place in March or April. This was inferred because those flowers were available only during that time of the year.

 

When he finally reached the mummy, though, he ran into trouble. The ritual resins had hardened, cementing Tut to the bottom of his solid gold coffin. “No amount of legitimate force could move them,” Carter wrote later. “What was to be done?”

Word Meaning
Ran into trouble Faced problem,
Ritual Customary, According to customs
Resin Gum
Cementing Sticking
Legitimate According to correct method

After opening other nested coffins, he reached the mummy. Now he faced a problem. The customary gum used in the coffin had become hard. Now Tut’s mummy was sticking to the bottom of the coffin made in solid gold. He tried to forcefully remove the mummy from the coffin. He used acceptable and correct methods to remove the mummy. So that neither the coffin nor the mummy is damaged. He did not know what should be done.

 

The sun can beat down like a hammer this far south in Egypt, and Carter tried to use it to loosen the resins. For several hours he set the mummy outside in blazing sunshine that heated it to 149 degrees Fahrenheit. Nothing budged.

Word Meaning
Sun can beat down like a hammer Sun is very hot
Blazing Very hot
Nothing budged Nothing happened

The sun is very hot in that southern part of Egypt. Carter tried to use heat of Sun to melt the resin. For many hours he kept the mummy in very hot sunshine. The sunshine heated the mummy to 149 degree Fahrenheit. It is equal to 65 degree Celsius. But nothing happened to resin. It did not melt.

 

He reported with scientific detachment that “the consolidated material had to be chiselled away from beneath the limbs and trunk before it was possible to raise the king’s remains.”

Word Meaning
Detachment Keeping away from something
Consolidated Dried, Solidified
Chiselled Broke with the help of chisel
Trunk Main body
Remains Dead body or its parts

He wrote that the solidified resin had to be broken using a chisel. This method was not a scientific method. He wrote that breaking of resin from below the arms, legs and body of mummy was necessary. It was required to remove the mummy of the king from the coffin.

 

In his defence, Carter really had little choice. If he hadn’t cut the mummy free, thieves most certainly would have circumvented the guards and ripped it apart to remove the gold.

Word Meaning
Defence Protect, Justify
Little choice No choice
Circumvent Dodge, Avoid,

Carter justified his action by saying that no other option was available at that time. If he had not cut the mummy to remove it from coffin,  thieves would have broken the mummy to remove gold. Thieves would have found some method to dodge the guards put there to protect the mummy.

 

In Tut’s time the royals were fabulously wealthy, and they thought — or hoped — they could take their riches with them.

Word Meaning
Royals People belonging to royal family
Fabulously Extremely, Wonderfully
Riches Treasures

During the times of Tut, people of royal family were extremely rich. They thought and also hoped that they would be able to take their wealth and treasure with them after their death.

 

For his journey to the great beyond, King Tut was lavished with glittering goods: precious collars, inlaid necklaces and bracelets, rings, amulets, a ceremonial apron, sandals, sheaths for his fingers and toes, and the now iconic inner coffin and mask — all of pure gold.

Word Meaning
Journey to great beyond Journey after death
Lavished Given generously, Given in large amount
Glittering Shining, Precious
Precious Valuable, Costly
Collars Type of ornament worn around neck
Amulets Type of ornament that protects against evils
Sheaths Cover
Iconic Admirable, Very beautiful

For the life after death, several shining and precious things were placed in the tomb of Tut. These things included precious collars, inlaid necklaces and bracelets, rings, amulets, a ceremonial apron, sandals, sheaths for his fingers and toes. A mask was also placed in the very beautiful coffin. All the things placed in the coffin were made of gold.

 

To separate Tut from his adornments, Carter’s men removed the mummy’s head and severed nearly every major joint. Once they had finished, they reassembled the remains on a layer of sand in a wooden box with padding that concealed the damage, the bed where Tut now rests.

Word Meaning
Adornments Ornaments, Decorations
Severed Separated, Cut
Reassembled Joined once again
Padding Packing, Cushion
Conceal Hide

To separate ornaments from Tut, workers of Carter removed the head of mummy. They also cut almost every major joint of the mummy. After removing all the ornaments, they once again joined the body. They put a layer of sand in a wooden box and then placed the body in it. They put some packings and cushions to hide the damage caused to the mummy. Presently the mummy of Tut lies in this wooden box.

 

Archaeology has changed substantially in the intervening decades, focusing less on treasure and more on the fascinating details of life and intriguing mysteries of death.

Word Meaning
Archaeology The study of old things
Substantially To a great extent
Intervening Time between two events
Focusing Giving importance
Fascinating Interesting, Thrilling
Intriguing Curious, Fascinating
Mysteries Secrets

The archaeology has changed to a great extent between decades that have passed since then. It does not give much importance to the valuable things. It gives importance to the interesting details of life. It is curious to know secret reasons of death.

 

It also uses more sophisticated tools, including medical technology. In 1968, more than 40 years after Carter’s discovery, an anatomy professor X-rayed the mummy and revealed a startling fact: beneath the resin that cakes his chest, his breast-bone and front ribs are missing.

Word Meaning
Sophisticated Advanced, Complex
Anatomy Science of study of structure of human body
Revealed Disclosed
Startling Surprising, Shocking

Nowadays archaeology uses advanced and complex methods. This includes technology being used in medical science. The medical technology was used after  more than 40 years of the discovery made by Carter. A professor of anatomy used X-ray to investigate the mummy. He discovered a shocking fact. The mummy covered by the resin, did not have breast bone and front ribs.

 

Today diagnostic imaging can be done with computed tomography, or CT, by which hundreds of X-rays in cross section are put together like slices of bread to create a three-dimensional virtual body.

Word Meaning
Diagnostic Investigating
Imaging Taking photos by light or magnetic waves
Computed Calculated
Tomography Taking cross-sectional photo of a solid body
Virtual Not existing physically, Indirect,

Nowadays many investigations can be done by taking photos through magnetic waves. The cross-section through a solid body can be calculated by computed tomography or CT Scanning. In this technique hundreds of X rays are taken. These photos are then combined together to indirectly form a three dimensional photo of the body.

 

What more would a CT scan reveal of Tut than the X-ray? And could it answer two of the biggest questions still lingering about him — how did he die, and how old was he at the time of his death?

Word Meaning
Lingering Pending, Unknown

Something was known about Tut through X-ray. What more would we know through CT scan. Can this answer two biggest questions about Tut. How did he die? What was his age at the time of his death?

 

King Tut’s demise was a big event, even by royal standards. He was the last of his family’s line, and his funeral was the death rattle of a dynasty. But the particulars of his passing away and its aftermath are unclear.

Word Meaning
Demise Death
Last of family’s line The youngest heir
Death rattle The beginning of deaths
Dynasty Rule by members of the same family

Even within the royal family, death of Tut was a big event. He was the youngest heir in his family. His death and funeral was starting point of many more deaths in his family.

 

Amenhotep III — Tut’s father or grandfather — was a powerful pharaoh who ruled for almost four decades at the height of the eighteenth dynasty’s golden age.

Word Meaning
At the height of At the peak of , Most powerful
Golden age The best period

Amenhotep III was either father or grandfather of Tut. He was a powerful king. He had ruled Egypt for almost four decades. He was the most powerful king from the eighteenth family that ruled the Egypt. His rule is considered the best period for his country.

 

His son Amenhotep IV succeeded him and initiated one of the strangest periods in the history of ancient Egypt.

Amenhotep IV was son of Amenhotep III. He became king after death of Amenhotep III. His rule is considered the most unusual period in the history of ancient Egypt.

 

The new pharaoh promoted the worship of the Aten, the sun disk, changed his name to Akhenaten, or ‘servant of the Aten,’ and moved the religious capital from the old city of Thebes to the new city of Akhetaten, known now as Amarna.

Word Meaning
Promoted Started, Supported

The new king Amenhotep IV started worship of Aten – meaning the Sun. He changed his name to Akhenaten, which means servant of Aten. He shifted his capital from Thebes to Akhetaten. This city is now known as Amarna.

 

He further shocked the country by attacking Amun, a major god, smashing his images and closing his temples.

Word Meaning
Smashing Breaking
Images Idols

Amenhotep IV gave more surprises to his countrymen when he attacked one of their god Amun. He broke idols of Amun and closed all the temples of this god.

 

“It must have been a horrific time,” said Ray Johnson, director of the University of Chicago’s research centre in Luxor, the site of ancient Thebes. “The family that had ruled for centuries was coming to an end, and then Akhenaten went a little wacky.”

Word Meaning
Horrific Frightful, Causing fear
Wacky Absurd, Silly, Foolish

Ray Johnson was the director of research centre of University of Chicago in Luxor. This centre was at the location of ancient town of Thebes. He said that this period  must have been a very frightful time for the people residing in that country. The family of Amenhotep IV had ruled Egypt for many centuries. It appeared to them that the rule of this dynasty was about to end. Amenhotep IV had started behaving in absurd manner.

 

After Akhenaten’s death, a mysterious ruler named Smenkhkare appeared briefly and exited with hardly a trace. And then a very young Tutankhaten took the throne — King Tut as he’s widely known today.

Word Meaning
Mysterious Strange, Not well known
Hardly a trace Not making an impact, Not well known
Took to the throne Became king
Widely known Popularly known

After death of Amenhotep IV, Smenkhkare became ruler. He is not well known in the history. He died without making any impact to the life of people. After him. A very young person Tutankhaten became the king. Today he is popularly known as Tut.

 

The boy king soon changed his name to Tutankhamun, ‘living image of Amun,’ and oversaw a restoration of the old ways. He reigned for about nine years — and then died unexpectedly.

Word Meaning
Living image of Amun Incarnation of Amun, Avataar of Amun
Oversaw Organised, Ordered
Restoration Reconstruction, establish once again
Reigned Ruled

The king who was a boy, changed his name to Tutankhamun. Meaning of this name is incarnation of God Amun. Meaning that the God Amun has come to the Earth in the form of Tutankhamun. He once again established the previous customs. He ruled for about nine years. He died unexpectedly. Nobody had imagined that he would die so soon.

 

Regardless of his fame and the speculations about his fate, Tut is one mummy among many in Egypt. How many? No one knows.

Word Meaning
Regardless Despite, In spite of , Nevertheless
Speculation Guess
Fate Destiny, Kismet, Nemesis

In spite of his fame and guesses about his death, the mummy is just one of the many mummies in Egypt. Nobody knows how many mummies are there in Egypt.

 

The Egyptian Mummy Project, which began an inventory in late 2003, has recorded almost 600 so far and is still counting.

Word Meaning
Began an inventory Started counting, Started finding out
Still counting More are being found, Continuing

The Egyptian Mummy Project started in later part of 2003. Till now the project has found about 600 mummies. And the search for mummies is continuing. It is hoped that more mummies may be found.

 

The next phase: scanning the mummies with a portable CT machine donated by the National Geographic Society and Siemens, its manufacturer. King Tut is one of the first mummies to be scanned — in death, as in life, moving regally ahead of his countrymen.

Word Meaning
Next phase Next step, Next stage
Portable That can be easily moved to other place
Regally Royally

The next stage or step in the project is scanning of mummy with portable CT machines. These machines have been donated by National Geographic Society and Siemens. The machines are manufactured by Siemens. King Tut is one of the first mummies that would be scanned. During his life time Tut was the first among his countrymen. After death also he is royally ahead of his countrymen for scanning.

 

A CT machine scanned the mummy head to toe, creating 1,700 digital X-ray images in cross section. Tut’s head, scanned in 0.62 millimetre slices to register its intricate structures, takes on eerie detail in the resulting image.

Word Meaning
Toe Fingers in a foot
Slices Thin, Very small
Register Record
Intricate Complex,
Eerie Strange, Curious, Mysterious

A CT scanning machine scanned the mummy of Tut from head to toe. It created 1700 X-ray images of the body. Tut’s head was scanned at an interval of very small distance of 0.62 millimeter. These images recorded  every complex details of mummy. The image of scanning of head looks quite strange.

 

With Tut’s entire body similarly recorded, a team of specialists in radiology, forensics, and anatomy began to probe the secrets that the winged goddesses of a gilded burial shrine protected for so long.

Word Meaning
Radiology Science dealing with X-ray and imaging
Forensic Scientific investigation
Anatomy Science of study of structure of human body
Probe Investigate
Winged Having wings
Gilded Covered with gold
Shrine A holy place

The entire body of Tut was scanned in similar manner and its images were recorded. Scientist of various fields started investigations about secrets of the mummy. The burial place was considered a holy place. There was an image of a goddess that had wings. Since very long time it was believed that this goddess was protecting the burial place.

 

The night of the scan, workmen carried Tut from the tomb in his box. Like pallbearers they climbed a ramp and a flight of stairs into the swirling sand outside, then rose on a hydraulic lift into the trailer that held the scanner.

Word Meaning
Pallbearers People carrying a coffin on shoulder
Ramp Slope pathway
Flight of stairs Series of stairs
Swirling Moving in circular motion
Trailer Truck

The scanning was done in night. During that night, workers carried the coffin of Tut from his tomb on their shoulders. They climbed a sloping pathway and then a flight of stairs. They reached the area outside the tomb. Because of wind, the sand was moving in a circular way. They entered a lift that was being operated through a hydraulic pump. They put the coffin into a trailer. The CT scan machine had been mounted on this trailer.

 

Twenty minutes later two men emerged, sprinted for an office nearby, and returned with a pair of white plastic fans. The million-dollar scanner had quit because of sand in a cooler fan. “Curse of the pharaoh,” joked a guard nervously.

Word Meaning
Emerged Appeared
Sprinted Ran
Million –dollar scanner Very costly scanner
Quit Did not function
Nervously Anxiously, Worriedly, fearfully

After 20 minutes two man came out of the trailer. They ran towards nearby office. The came back with two plastic fans of white colour. The very costly scanner had stopped functioning because sand got into a cooler fan of the scanner. A guard anxiously said that cooler fan stopped functioning because of curse of pharaoh.

 

Eventually the substitute fans worked well enough to finish the procedure. After checking that no data had been lost, the technicians turned Tut over to the workmen, who carried him back to his tomb.

Word Meaning
Eventually Finally
Substitute Replacement
Turn over Hand over, Transfer, Give

Finally the scanning was completed with the help of replacement fans. Technicians checked and confirmed that every data had been collected in the machine. Then technicians handed over Tut to workers. They carried the Tut back to his tomb.

 

Less than three hours after he was removed from his coffin, the pharaoh again rested in peace where the funerary priests had laid him so long ago.

In less than thirty hours the king was back to his tomb. It was the place where, after the funeral, he was placed by the priests very long time ago.

 

Back in the trailer a technician pulled up astonishing images of Tut on a computer screen. A grey head took shape from a scattering of pixels, and the technician spun and tilted it in every direction.

Word Meaning
Pulled up Took out, Made
Astonishing Wonderful
Scattering Spread
Pixels Dots

In the trailer, a technician made a wonderful images of Tut on the screen of a computer. With the help of several dots spread all over the screen, shape of a head was created. Then technician rotated and tilted the image of head in every direction.

 

Neck vertebrae appeared as clearly as in an anatomy class. Other images revealed a hand, several views of the rib cage, and a transection of the skull.

Word Meaning
Neck vertebrae Bone of the neck
Revealed Disclosed
Rib cage Group of bones on the chest
Transection Inside view
Skull The outer bone of head

The bone of the neck in the image was as clear as a chart would be in the class of anatomy. The other images were of hand, rib cage and views inside the skull.

 

But for now the pressure was off. Sitting back in his chair, Zahi Hawass smiled, visibly relieved that nothing had gone seriously wrong. “I didn’t sleep last night, not for a second,” he said. “I was so worried. But now I think I will go and sleep.”

Word Meaning
Pressure was off Pressure was removed
Visibly Clearly seen, Noticeably
Relieved Relaxed

Now there was no pressure of work. Zahi Hawas sat in the chair. His back was touching the back rest of the chair. It was clearly seen that he was now a relaxed person because nothing had gone wrong while scanning. He said that during previous night he had not slept even for a second. He was worried. Now he wanted to sleep.

 

By the time we left the trailer, descending metal stairs to the sandy ground, the wind had stopped. The winter air lay cold and still, like death itself, in this valley of the departed.

Word Meaning
Descending Getting down
Still Not moving, Immobile

We left the trailer by coming down the metal stairs and stepped on the ground that had lot of sand. By this time the wind had stopped. Because of winter season the atmosphere was cold. There was no movement of anything. Just like nothing moves after death, nothing was moving in this valley of death. Author has called it valley of death because all pharaoh were buried in this valley.

 

Just above the entrance to Tut’s tomb stood Orion — the constellation that the ancient Egyptians knew as the soul of Osiris, the god of the afterlife — watching over the boy king.

Word Meaning
Constellation Group of stars

Just above the entrance of the tomb of Tut, an image of Orion has been made. According to beliefs of ancient Egypt, Orion is the God of life after death. And this God was watching the boy king Tut.

_____

The Laburnum Top

(Explanation)

The Laburnum top is silent, quite still

In the afternoon yellow September sunlight,

A few leaves yellowing, all its seeds fallen.

Word Meaning
Laburnum Type of tree
Still Not moving
Quite To a great extent
Poetic Devices
In the afternoon yellow September sunlight Alliteration

The laburnum tree is silent. Its leaves towards its top portion are not making any movement. It is an afternoon of September month. There is good amount of sunlight on the tree. Some of its leaves have become yellow. All the seeds have fallen on the ground.

Poet has described sunshine as yellow. Leaf of trees are also describes as yellow. Poet is trying to give a monotonous colour to the surroundings. The monotony represents sadness.

 

Till the goldfinch comes, with a twitching chirrup

A suddenness, a startlement, at a branch end.

Word Meaning
Goldfinch Type of bird
Twitch Move with a jerk
Chirrup Sound of bird
Startlement Surprise
Poetic Devices
A suddenness, a startlement, Alliteration

The sadness prevails till a goldfinch comes to the tree. It is twitching its tail and making high pitched sound. It suddenly sits on an end of a branch. That was a surprise.

 

Then sleek as a lizard, and alert, and abrupt,

She enters the thickness, and a machine starts up

Of chitterings, and a tremor of wings, and trillings —

The whole tree trembles and thrills.

Word Meaning
Sleek Thin, Shining
Lizard A reptile animal
Abrupt Sudden
Tremor Vibrations
Trillings Sound of baby birds,
Trembles Vibrates
Thrills Happiness
Poetic Devices
Sleek as a lizard Simile
and alert and abrupt Repetition
and alert and abrupt Alliteration
The whole tree trembles and thrills. Alliteration

The goldfinch is thin like a lizard. It is alert and move in sudden steps. Meaning that it jumps a bit then stops. Again jumps forward and stops. The bird is moving in the direction the branch is becoming thicker. Meaning that the bird is  moving towards centre of the tree. As she moves towards the centre of the tree, its kids start making a continuous noise like a machine. They start flapping their wings and making sounds. Their happiness makes every part of the tree happy. The tree that was still earlier is now vibrating with happiness.

 

It is the engine of her family.

She stokes it full, then flirts out to a branch-end

Showing her barred face identity mask

Word Meaning
Stokes Fills
Flirts Moves
Barred Full of spots or stripes
Poetic Devices
Engine of her family Metaphor
She stokes it full Alliteration

The baby-birds and the tree are the cause of motivation for the bird. Hence these are termed as engines for goldfinch. Then she starts moving out towards the end of the branch. There are black stripes on his face. These stripes are looking like a mask on her face. Her yellow body and black face is her identity.

 

Then with eerie delicate whistle-chirrup whisperings

She launches away, towards the infinite

And the laburnum subsides to empty.

Word Meaning
Eerie Strange
Delicate Pleasing
Whisperings Voices of low volume
Launches Starts, Jumps
Subsides Goes back,
Poetic Devices
Whistle-chirping Simile

The goldfinch then starts making a strange but pleasant sound in low volume. It is just like a soft whistle. Then it jumps off the branch and starts flying in the air and in the infinite world. The laburnum tree again becomes sad and lonely. At that time though the chicks of the bird are in the nest, but they are also not making any noise. So it is silence in the tree.

****


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