Switching Heads

Disclaimer: I don't own The Prince of Egypt. Dreamworks does Ā© .

The day started off just like any other normal day in the land of Egypt. The sun rose, as it always did. By noon, it was high in the sky. The sun's rays beat down harshly. It was a very hot day. This was typical for Egypt. But today was the hottest it had been in a very long time.

Two young boys were sneaking about. They were the princes of Egypt. The oldest, Ramases, was 13-years-old. His younger brother's name was Moses. He was 10-years-old.

Moses and Ramases ordinarily would have been studying. But their lessons for today, however, had been postponed. This was because of the heat. The brothers were now looking for ways to combat the lingering sense of boredom that had crept upon them.

Moses and Ramases felt like they were going to die. If the heat didn't kill them, boredom probably would. Both boys wanted to find something fun to do. But they would have to be smart and very careful about it. In the past, their methods of having fun had often caused more trouble than amusement.

Moses and Ramases were known as the two biggest pranksters in all of Egypt. Some of their more notable practical jokes included letting all of the horses out of the royal stables, placing cobras in to random people's beds and pouring juice down on the heads of the unsuspecting priests as they walked by. Both boys would get punished for their actions. But the consequences were often more severe for Ramases. This was because he was the oldest, and would one day inherit the kingdom. His father, Pharaoh Seti, had repeatedly told him that a future king does not partake in such childish shenanigans.

Moses suddenly gasped very loudly. His eyes widened. A mischievous smile spread across his lips.

"I just got a brilliant idea!" he exclaimed. "Come on, Ramases. Follow me!" He grabbed his brother's arm. Ramases tried to resist.

"Moses, I don't know about this", he said. "I have no idea what you're planning, but I don't like it. It doesn't seem like a very good idea to me." Ramasaes was about to say something else, until Moses yanked even harder on his arm, and dragged him away. "Whoa!" he shouted. "Moses, let go of me", said Ramases. "And where are we going anyway?" he asked.

"Shh", hissed Moses. "I'll show you when we get there", he said, through gritted teeth. Moses led Ramases through the seemingly endless corridors of the palace, and out into the courtyard. After a few minutes of non-stop walking, they finally came to a stop. "Okay, said Moses, "we're here." Ramases pulled his arm free from Moses' grasp. It was a bit stiff and sore. He flexed it out a few times, in order to loosen it up. Despite his young age and small size, Moses had an astonishingly very strong grip. Ramases knew this all too well. But he was still always so surprised by how powerful his brother could be.

Ramaes looked around. This place looked vaguely familiar to him. He had been here, several times, as a matter of fact. But that had been when he was younger. He couldn't exactly remember the name of this place. Although Ramases did know that there was something very important to know about this room. It held some sort of special significance. Then he suddenly remembered where he was. Ramases gasped. His mouth opened wide, in shock and surprise.

"This is the Temple of Ra", he said loudly.

"I'm so happy you noticed that", Moses said sarcastically. "Where did you think we were going?" he asked. "The moon?"

"I hate that you brought us here", said Ramases.

"How come?" asked Moses.

"We're not even supposed to be here in the first place", said Ramases.

"But you and father used to come in here all the time", said Moses. "Don't you remember?" he asked. "Because I sure do."

"That was when I was younger, and father was teaching me about the kingdom", said Ramases. "And he also told both of us that were not supposed to be in here alone. The only times were are allowed in this temple are with father's permission and supervision. All other times, it's off limits to us. Especially if the priests are in here as well."

"But I don't see any priests in here", said Moses. "Do you?"

"Well, no", Ramases admitted. "But still, you never know. "And you can't be too careful. One of more of the priests could be on their way here right now. If they catch us, we're done for. Father would kill us. And you still haven't told us what we're doing here in the first place, Moses. That's something I really want to know. Although I think I already figured it out. You dragged me here just to do something troublesome." Moses was taken aback by what Ramases had just said.

"Ramases, I am surprised and a bit disappointed in you", he said. He sounded genuinely hurt. "Is that really all you think my life is about?" asked Moses. "To get us into trouble?" Ramases nodded silently. "Normally, I would try to find something mischievous for us to do", said Moses. "But not today. I just want to talk with you right now. You know, like brothers do. We haven't done that in a while. I'm starting to really miss it."

"But why couldn't we have talked in my secret hiding place?" asked Ramases. "Would always talk there. Why did we have to come to the temple of Ra?"

"I wanted a change of scenery", replied Moses. "Now come on. I have something that I really want to show you. Follow me." Moses ran off quickly. It was at that moment when Ramases realized that Moses actually did have something planned up his sleeve.

So much for just wanting to talk, he thought bitterly. Ramases sighed. He ran off after Moses. "Hey, Moses!" he shouted. "Wait up." He ran farther and farther into the temple. He found Moses just standing there. The younger boy seemed to be staring into space. His gaze was firmly fixed on something that Ramases couldn't quite see. Ramases walked up to Moses. "What are you looking at?" he asked.

"Those", Moses said, pointing. Ramases looked up. When he saw what Moses had indicated, he became confused. Moses was pointing to a bunch of statues.

"Those are the statues of the gods", Ramases stated, as-a-matter-of-factly. "They've always been there. And you've never really paid any attention to them before, Moses. So then, why are they suddenly so important to you now?" he asked.

"I discovered something about their heads", said Moses. "They're removable."

"How did you find that out?" asked Ramases.

"When I snuck in here the other day", said Moses.

"When you WHAT?!" roared Ramases. "How in the world did you manage to come into the temple without getting caught? And where the priests in here at the time?" he asked.

"They were", said Moses. "But they didn't see me."

"How come?" asked Ramases.

"I hid", said Moses

"You hid?" Ramases repeated.

"Is there an echo in here?!" asked Moses. "Yes, I hid. Right there, in the rafters. Anyway, I saw a priest take the head off one of the statues."

"Why would the priests do such a thing?" asked Ramases.

"To clean them, I guess", said Moses. "And that gave me an idea. We could switch the heads."

"That's absolutely ridiculous", Ramases countered.

"No it's not", said Moses. "We'll be really quite about it. And when we're done, we simply switch the heads back. Nobody will be able to tell the difference." Ramases let out a long sigh. He looked up towards the sky.

"I sometimes wonder why I even bother with Moses", he muttered. "I mean, I just knew that he was going to come up with something stupid like this.

"Ramases, get over here and help me." Ramases was brought out of his thoughts by Moses calling for him. His voice sounded strained, like he was in pain. Ramases rushed over to assist his brother.

Moses was struggling to hold up what resembled the head of a hippopotamus. It looked very heavy. Moses came this close to dropping the head to the ground, until Ramases stepped in to grab it at the very last second. The boy grunted harshly from the sheer weight of the head.

"You weren't kidding, Moses", said Ramases. He was breathing heavily. "This head really IS heavy."

"I know", said Moses. "I never thought they'd be so heavy. They're a lot heavier than they look. And that's why I need you help."

"What is it that you plan to do with the hippo's head", asked Ramases.

"I'm going to put it on that", said Moses. He pointed to another statue. This one had the statue of a crocodile. Moses was able to lift the crocodile's head without much difficulty. Though it had a long snout, it was surprisingly much lighter than the hippo's head. But Ramases still had to help Moses balance it while carrying it. The hippopotamus' head fell neatly into place on top of the crocodile's body. Then both boys hoisted the crocodile's head onto a statue that had the body of a falcon. When they were done, Moses and Ramases surveyed their work.

"These are beautiful!" Moses proclaimed. Ramases, on the other hand, wasn't quite convinced if that was true. He cocked his head to one side. He scrunched up his face, and made a confused look.

"I wouldn't call them 'beautiful'", he said. "They look so odd. Especially the head of the crocodile on the falcon's body. It's like it has the body of majestic and powerful bird, but with the head of a monster."

"That's the beauty of them", said Moses.

"Whatever you say, Moses", said Ramases. He smiled. This was the fist smile that Moses had seen on his face all day. And Ramases also chuckled lightly. "Whatever you say." Then the smile faded from his face. Ramases suddenly became very serious. He glanced nervously around the temple. "We should put everything back to the way it was", he said.

"Aw, do we have to?" Moses pouted. "It seems like we just got here. And we were having so much fun, too. Why do we have to leave now?" he asked.

"I just got this really strange feeling", said Ramases. "Like we're being watched." He was about to continue, until he heard the sound of footsteps. Then he heard hushed voices off in the distance. And they were getting closer. He pulled Moses into a corner. Moses tried to scream out, but Ramases covered up his mouth with his hand. "Shh", he whispered. "Let's get out of here." He and Moses quietly ran off.

The two high priests, Hotep and Huy, walked into the temple. They were arguing with each other. This is something that they often did. Hotep and Huy would randomly start arguing about the silliest things. Most people were puzzled as to how they ever got to be the high priest. This is because Hotep and Huy were such big idiots. Hotep, the shorter of the two, stoped suddenly. He glanced up at the statues.

"Where those that way when we left them?" he asked. His taller friend, Huy, shook his head.

"I don't think so", he answered.

"What do you think could have happened here?" asked Hotep.

"A curse!" Huy cried. "Yes, a curse. A horrible omen, that was sent down by the gods, to punish us for some wrongdoing. We must alert the pharaoh at once."

Pharaoh Seti was pacing around his throne room. He held a scroll in his hands. He had spent all day performing official royal duties. It was very tiring work. Then there was a knock at the door to the throne room. Seti put down his scroll. He sat down on his throne. He looked up. Then he cleared his throat.

"Who is it?" he asked.

"It is us, your high priests, and most trusted advisors", answered Hotep. Seti rolled his eyes, and sighed exasperatingly.

Why did it have to be them? he thought. Seti rarely ever enjoyed associating with Hotep and Huy. The got on his nerves so easily.

"Come in", he said. Hotep and Huy cautiously shuffled into the throne room. "Yes?", Seti prompted. "Well, what do you two want?"

"Your Majesty", said Hotep, "when Huy and I were in the temple of Ra, we noticed something a littleā€¦unusual."

"And what would that be?" asked Seti.

"The heads of the gods were all switched around", Huy told him.

"This is a very serious matter", replied Seti. "Yes, a very serious matter indeed." He appeared to be calm. His voice was kept at a level tone. But on the inside, Seti was fuming with anger. "What do you plan to do about this?" he asked his priests.

"We don't know yet", said Huy. "But we'll think of something."

News of what had happened in the temple of Ra quickly spread throughout the land. There was even talk of the possibility of the priests fasting. Moses found this concept to be quite amusing. He laughed about it at any chance that he got. One day, Ramases confronted him about it.

"Why is this so funny to you?" he asked "Do you even know what "fasting" means, Moses?"

"No", said Moses. "I just think it sounds funny. But then, what exactly DOES it mean?" he asked.

"Fasting means that the priests don't eat", Ramases told him. This explanation made Moses laugh even harder. "You still think this is funny?" asked Ramases. "I don't believe it. And YOU, Moses, I should think, would be the LAST person who should be laughing. A majority of this was YOUR fault to begin with."

"Aw, cheer up, Ramases", said Moses. "The way I see it, fasting will actually be GOOD for the priests. Particularly Hotep. He could stand to loose a few pounds, you get my meaning."

(2 Months Later)

Moses bolted up in bed. He was breathing heavily. Beads of sweat formed on his forehead. He had just woken up from yet ANOTHER nightmare. These bad dreams haunted Moses' sleep continuously night after night. They frightened him more than anything he had ever known.

The nightmares began shortly after Moses and Ramases had switched the heads. They weren't that bad to start with. But as time progressed, they steadily got worse and worse. The most shocking thing of all, was that many of the images that Moses saw in his nightmares actually mirrored stuff that was happening in the real world, as well.

The Priests had indeed fasted. It pained Moses to see them this way. It was as if each priest was more emaciated and starved-looking than the last. They could slowly be killing themselves, and it was all Moses' fault.

"We have to tell everyone the truth", Moses told Ramases the next day.

"All this from the boy who caused the commotion in the first place?" asked Ramases. "Had a change of heart, have you, Moses?"

"Switching the heads may have seemed like a good idea at the time", said Moses. "But now, I realize that what we did was truly very wrong. And we have to make up for it."

Moses and Ramases walked into their father's throne room. Seti's eyes lit up when he saw his sons. He smiled kindly at them.

"Ah, Moses, Ramases", he said, "come in, come in. And how are you two boys doing on this fine day?" he asked.

"We're fine, Father", Moses and Ramases answered in unison.

"Father, we have something to tell you", said Moses. "It's about the heads of the gods in the temple of Ra. It wasn't an omen that switched them. It was us. Ramases and I. We did it. We switched the heads. And we really didn't mean to cause any harm by it. We were just trying to have some fun." Seti's face hardened.

"I can't believe you boys would do such a thing like that", he said. His voice lost that loving and nurturing tone. It instantly became furious. "You've done some pretty bad stuff in the past. But this is by far the worse offense you two have ever committed. In fact, it's absolutely BLASPHEMOUS! I want both of you boys to go to your rooms. I don't want to see or hear from either one of you for the rest of the night. I'll figure out what to do with you later."

During the next few days, Moses and Ramases moved the heads back to normal. They also reconciled with Hotep and Huy. The priest were willing to forgive the boys. Best of all, they ended their fast. Once again, things in Egypt went back to the way that they were supposed to be.

The End