Years of residence in Egypt had created an interest in Egyptology, an interest which, upon my returning to England, drew me not infrequently to the galleries of the British Museum.
In the bygone days of Egypt's greatness, scientific attainment was confined to the priestly communities, and they kept it from the outset and unlearn it world under the veil of an elaborate symbolism. Even then it appears likely that the search For the Elixir of Life had begun.
When, therefore, I noticed that a statue of one of the priests were shown holding a cylinder in one hand, my curiosity was aroused and I determined upon an investigation.
That the reigning Pharaoh was similarly equipped merely suggested that reasonable concession on the part of priesthood, and in no way negated the supposition that the cylinders or short rods had some purpose or function of an important nature of which they were symbolical in the statutory.
The most prominent statue, a painted limestone portrait, dates back to about 3700 BC, and as a royal personage named An-Kheft-Ka, who is shown holding a rod in each hand, much in the same manner that a runner holds a baton.
In my belief, as I have said, these rods were symbolic; but of what? Surely not of power; for that on the part of priestly communities would have been to court disaster at the hands of a jealous and incensed Pharaoh.