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Name Class Date

Ancient Egypt and Kush Literature

The Egyptian Cinderella

by Shirley Climo


Rhodopis (ra-doh-pes) was first recorded in din loud noise
the first century BC. Rhodopis was a real life
slave girl who marries Pharaoh Amasis. She rushes a kind of plant that
was queen 570526 BC. The story below grows in wet lands
is both fact and fiction. This excerpt begins
after a falcon swoops down and steals one
of Rhodipiss rose-red gold slippers and then
gives it to the Pharaoh.

As you read the passage below, note how the

story resembles the fairy tale Cinderella.
Horus was the Egyptian sun god.
Horus was often portrayed in
The god Horus sends me a sign! exclaimed Egyptian art as that as a falcon.
the Pharaoh. He picked up the rose-red slipper. The Pharoah interprets the
appearance of a falcon as a sign
Every maiden in Egypt must try this shoe! She from Horus.
whose foot it fits shall be my queen. That is the
will of the gods.
Amasis dismissed the court, called for his chariot,
and began his search at once.
The Pharaoh journeyed to distant cities. He Many pyramids were built in
Ancient Egypt. The Great
tracked the desert where pyramids tower over the Pyramids are Menkaure, Khufu,
sand, and he climbed the steep cliffs where falcons and Khafre.

nest. The rose-red slipper was always in his hand.

Wherever he went, women and girls, rich or poor,
flocked to try on the slipper. But none could fit into
so small a shoe.
The longer Amasis searched, the more
determined he became to marry the maiden who
had lost the tiny slipper. He summoned his royal
barge and vowed to visit every landing along the
Nile. The barge was hung with sails of silk.
Source: The Egyptian Cinderella, by Shirley Climo. New York: Thomas
Y. Crowell,l 1989.

Copyright by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. All rights reserved.

16 Ancient Egypt and Kush
Name Class Date

The Egyptian Cinderella, continued Literature

Trumpets blared and oarsmen rowed to the beat of

gongs. The din was so dreadful that, when the barge
rounded the bend in the river, Rhodopis fled in
Do you think the servant girls
alarm. But the servant girls ran to the waters edge. liked Rhodopis? Support your
Now we will see the Pharaoh! cried Kipa. answer with a detail from the
Amasis held up the rose-red slipper. Whoever
can wear this shoe shall be my queen.
The servant girls knew that shoe, and knew its owner,
too. Yet they clapped their hands over their mouths and
said nothing. If one of them could wear it...
First Kipa, then the others, tried to put on the
slipper. Each cramped her foot and curled her toes
and squeezed until tears ran down her cheeks. Still
her heel hung over.
Enough! said Amasis wearily. He would have
set sail again had he not chanced to see Rhodopis
peering through the rushes.
Come! he commanded. You must try this
rose-red slipper.
The servant girls gawked openmouthed as the
Pharaoh kneeled before Rhodopis. He slipped the
tiny shoe on her foot with ease. Then Rhodopis
pulled its mate from the folds of her tunic.
Behold! cried Amasis. In all this land there is
none so fit to be queen!

1. Main Idea What is the purpose of the Pharoahs search?

2. Critical Thinking: Making Comparisons How are Rhodopis and Cinderella alike?
How are they different?

ACTIVITY On a separate sheet of paper, create a wedding invitation for

the Pharoah and Rhodopis.
Copyright by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. All rights reserved.
17 Ancient Egypt and Kush
Answer Key

Biography Khufu Literature The Egyptian

1. Because his tomb was robbed during CALL OUT BOX
ancient times, which would have 1. The servant girls did not tell the Pharaoh
contained many clues about his life. that the shoe belonged to Rhodopis.
2. The Great Pyramid is very different from
a tomb in America. American graveyards ANALYZING LITERATURE
are generally small, and with many people 1. He believes that the god Horus sent him
buried in them. The Pyramid is very large, a message and that he needs to find the
and was just built for Khufu and his owner of the shoe to marry her and make
family. her his queen.
2. Similarities: both lose slippers; both
ACTIVITY marry and become queen; both are poor;
3. Answers will vary.
Differences: Rhodopiss slippers are
rose-red, Cinderellas slippers are glass;
Biography Queen Rhodopis marries a Pharaoh, Cinderella
Amanirenas marries a prince.


1. Possible Response: Since the most
Literature The Fall of
important religious icon was Isis, a Meroe
female, it probably made the Kushites CALL OUT BOXES
view women rulers as very powerful 1. Answers may vary. Students may under-
and capable. line the following sections: they boasted;
2. Possible Response: She did not give up.
When they did violence to the peoples
She also attacked first. Mangurto and Hasa and Barya; the Blacks
Waged war on the Red Peoples; broke
their oath; slew their neighbors and plun-
3. Answers will vary.
dered our envoys and our messengers;
they did not hear me, and reviled me
Biography King Taharqa 2. Answers may vary. Students may circle the
WHAT DID YOU LEARN? following sections: I burnt their towns;
1. Taharqa built many buildings, rebuilt and (there were) many who perished in
temples, and tried to defend Egypt from the water; a multitude of people / Men
invasion by the Assyrians. and women were drowned
2. Shebaka was the first King of the
Twenty-fifth Dynasty, who was succeeded
1. They taunted the king saying that he
by his nephew Shebitku. Shebitku and
would never invade Meroe, they broke
Taharqa were brothers: Shebitku was the
their promise, they killed their neighbors,
Second King of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty,
they attacked messengers from Aksum,
and Taharqa was the Third.
and they verbally attacked the king.
2. The people were violent during and after
3. Answers will vary. battles, killing even women, burning vil-
lages, and taking all the possessions of
those they conquered.

Copyright by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. All rights reserved.

49 Ancient Kush and Egypt