The Golden Goblet
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (June 2008)|
|The Golden Goblet|
|Author||Eloise Jarvis McGraw|
|Genre||Children's Novel, Historical Fiction|
|Publisher||Coward McCann, Inc.|
|LC Class||PZ7.M1696 Go 1986|
The Golden Goblet is a children's historical novel by Eloise Jarvis McGraw. It was first published in 1961 and received a Newbery Honor award in 1962. The novel is set in ancient Egypt around 1400 B.C., and tells the story of a young Egyptian boy named Ranofer who struggles to reveal a hideous crime and reshape his life.
Ranofer is an orphaned 12-year-old boy at a goldsmith's shop who has learned much about gold working. Without his half brother, Gebu, he would be living on the streets. His evil half brother beats and mistreats Ranofer. Ranofer has to stay with Gebu because his father,Thutra, died when he was young. His father knew Zau, the master goldsmith well. When the tallies of gold sweepings do not add up, Ranofer tries to figure out why. He determines that Ibni the Babylonian porter is smuggling gold to Gebu through wineskins that Ranofer unknowingly carries home. Ranofer tries to stop this, but Gebu forces him to continue, threatening to beat again and sell him into slavery. Ranofer makes two new friends, the Ancient and Heqet, but things take a turn for the worse when Gebu moves him to his stone cutting shop to be an apprentice after Ibni is caught. Ranofer doesn't like the job as much as his dream where he is to be apprentice by Zau, the master goldsmith.With the help of his new friends, Ranofer discovers that someone else is stealing gold at night after getting suspicious again. After Heqet suggests they work together to spy on Gebu and his evil helpers, they meet in a thicket near the river, share food, and talk about what they have heard during midday when Ranofer gets a break from his awful job at the stonecutters' shop. Ranofer breaks into Gebu's room and discovers a golden goblet which could not come from the area. Ranofer realizes that Gebu has been tomb robbing by the markings at the bottom which say the name of a pharaoh. Also with that evidence he realizes that no one can get as rich as Gebu was getting in one day which supports his theory. He asks the Ancient how tomb robbers are caught, and the Ancient replies, "They must be followed". Ranofer knows from Heqet's eavesdropping that Gebu will be going on another tomb robbing session during the upcoming feast, but keeps his findings to himself. Ranofer follows Gebu to the burial chamber. Meanwhile, Heqet and the Ancient have also gone to the Valley of the Kings looking for Ranofer, putting puzzle pieces together where he has gone and why. Ranofer runs out of the tomb after extinguishing the robbers' torch and one of the giant steps crumbles, trapping Gebu and his companion Wenamon. Ranofer puts a boulder on top of the entrance, and then finds Heqet and the Ancient, who sit on the boulder while Ranofer returns to town. He manages to get into the palace, and tries to get an audience with the queen but is delayed by Qa-nefer, the queen’s assistant, who doesn't believe his story and thinks he is crazy. After lots of persistence Ranofer finally gets an audience with the queen, and by telling her about the golden goblet with the pharaoh's name on it, she decides to test him by asking him, "What is the object is leaning against the north wall of my parents' burial chamber?" Ranofer answers, "Majesty, it was your father's oaken staff," and the queen immediately sent out soldiers, who catch Gebu. Finally, the queen asks what Ranofer wants most in the world. "A donkey," Ranofer said, "so that I may earn a living for myself like the Ancient." He then trots off on his fine new donkey and the book ends with him meeting with the Ancient and Heqet.
Characters in The Golden Goblet
- Ranofer -A young boy (age 12) who is in the care of his evil half-brother since his father's death, the main character. He aspires to be a goldsmith like Zau the Master. He lives on the Street of the Crooked Dog.
- Gebu – Ranofer's mean half-brother,[age: late 20's] who scolds him and is a stone cutter by trade. He tries to rob the tomb of Queen Tiy's parents. He also steals gold from Rekh's gold shop.
- Thutra – Ranofer's deceased father; he was a goldsmith and a friend of Zau the Master.
- Heqet – An apprentice goldsmith who is friends with Ranofer and 'The Ancient'. His father is the Overseer of Storehouses on Lord Mahotep's estate
- The Ancient – a very old man who cuts papyrus for a modest living and lives on the edge of the desert. He is blind in one of his eyes and owns an elderly donkey named Lotus
- Lotus - An elderly donkey, it belongs to Ancient
- Rekh – The craftsman at the goldsmith's shop where Ranofer initially works.
- Zau – The most skilled goldsmith in the land of Egypt. He lives on the Street of Good Fortune. He had promised before to take Ranofer as his apprentice before Thutra's death.
- Ibni – A Babylonian porter who helps Gebu steal gold from Rekh's gold shop. Later on, Heqet tips him off and he is dismissed.
- Setma – A Nile boat captain, and a transporter of stolen artifacts for Gebu.
- Wenamon – A mason and Gebu's accomplice.
- Pai – the stonecutter's foreman.
- Queen Tiy – The queen, and daughter of Tuaa and Huaa. Sublime majesty, daughter of the sun (in ancient Egypt the pharaohs were called sun of god Ra. They were said to be reincarnated from the child of Ra) and beloved of two lands.
- Zahotep – He is the under craftsman at the stonecutting shop
- Sata – A craftsman at Rekh's shop.
- Qa-nefer – A dwarf who leads Ranofer to Queen Tiy's Throne Room.
- Tuaa and Huaa – Father and mother of Queen Tiy
- Kai – The baker boy apprentice
Very little is known about the lives of Egyptian artisans at the time, but some events can be traced. The grave of Thutmose the Conqueror was robbed about 200 years before the time of the novel. The tomb of Yuya and Tuya was discovered in 1905. The tomb had been penetrated, but was mostly intact. The discoverer, James Quibell, assumed that the robbers might have been disturbed in their act, giving the novel an interesting historical backing.
The Golden Goblet was retroactively named a Newbery Honor book when the award for runners-up to the Newbery Medal was initiated in the year 1971.
- Teaching Through Texts: Promoting Literacy Through Popular and Literary Texts in the Primary Classroom by Holly Anderson
- 100 Top Picks For Homeschool Curriculum: Choosing The Right Curriculum And Approach For Your Child's Learning Style by Cathy Duffy