Then they heard a thump. BunniHoTep sat up. She heard another thump and somebody mumbling under their breath so she decided to see what was going on. She didn’t hear anything so she waited. She had a feeling the noise was going to come again. About fifteen minutes later it came again. It was coming from the direction of the Nile.
Silence fell again. Another fifteen went by slowly and another thump. BunniHoTep came around a stand of papyrus and found a Grey Heron shaking his big head and getting up slowly.
“What is wrong?” asked BunniHoTep.
“You know how we herons sleep standing up a lot of the time?” asked the heron.
“Well, I’ve been having trouble sleeping. There is just so much noise around here. They’ve been working on construction on Ra’s new temple at all hours and when they aren’t banging their tools around the priests have been conducting all the rituals they have been missing during the construction time. My nest is too close and my wife won’t move because she just laid the eggs. I’ve been falling asleep while fishing and then I’m so tired I just fall over. One of these times I’m going to land right in the Nile. I just want a good night’s sleep.”
“Hmmm, It seems Ra should owe you a favour.” Said BunniHoTep thoughtfully. “I bet we can solve this. Wait here.”
BunniHoTep hopped down to Ra’s Temple and asked the priest standing outside. “Have you seen Bennu?”
The priest shook his head and pointed at the construction going on. “He was over on the Nile but we can’t find him anywhere. Ra is getting upset. He is supposed to be on the BenBen stone and he’s gone.”
“I can see how Ra might be upset not to know where his heart is. So why doesn’t he keep better track of Bennu?”
“Ra is better with his head than his heart.” Laughed the priest.
BunniHoTep hopped off back to the Temple and found the Grey Heron. “Bennu, why didn’t you ask Ra for help? You’re his heart!”
“He is making a shrine for that darn benben stone. All I want is some sleep. Those priests are the noisy ones banging sistrums all night long just so they can say they made Ra come back! Fools! Ra has to come back because I’m here.”
BunniHoTep hopped back to the Temple and straight down to Ra’s night cave. She had borrowed a sistrum from a priest who was resting and she started to shake it loudly at Ra’s door. Nothing happened so she shook it louder and louder.
“ALL RIGHT!” yelled Ra, “I’m coming!” Ra came out and looked up and down the hall.
“Down here, silly.” BunniHoTep said quietly. “Did you know Bennu was missing?” she asked.
This alarmed Ra mightily, he knew Bennu was missing but no one else was supposed to know it. He couldn’t go on his day journey without knowing where is heart was.
“He’s missing! How long? Has anyone seen where he went?” Ra was pacing around his night cave.
“Relax, your priests have been keeping him awake and he needs to sleep. He almost fell in the Nile awhile ago.”
“That’s not right. Night is for sleeping and he has a family coming soon.”
“Well, you better tell your priests that or let him come and sleep down here with you.”
“Not that, he snores.” Ra said. “I have an idea.”
So BunniHoTep and Ra went down and found the Bennu bird leaning against the wall of BunniHoTep’s Temple. He seemed to finally have fallen asleep. He was snoring with his beak wide open and he was starting to drool. He looked really funny because the feathers in his crown were waving up and down and it was all they could do not to laugh.
Ra picked him up carefully and carried him to his boat on the Nile and the two of them rowed out to an island that never flooded during inundation and Ra and BunniHoTep constructed a nest for the tired bird and laid him in it. They quietly crept away secure in the knowledge that the Bennu bird was finally getting some sleep.
The next morning the Bennu bird came to thank BunniHoTep for the first good night’s sleep he had had in weeks. Ra felt so sorry he made him the symbol of the rising and setting sun and now we say “rise and shine” because a poor bird finally got some sleep. And that island is still sacred to the Bennu bird.