Aaru, the Field of Reeds was the Egyptian idea of paradise. Food was unlimited, and menial funeral statues could gather it for you.

However, it is described as a “mirror image of one's life on earth”.

Yet, Egypt’s real fields of reeds, in the delta valley, where more like infernos.

They where infested by bugs, mosquitoes, and snakes.

Dua-Khety warns his son about the hard life of reed workers who were chronically affected by things like malaria and tuberculosis

From Kheti we have

  • “The reed-cutter goes downstream to the Delta to fetch himself arrows.
    • He must work excessively in his activity.
    • When the gnats sting him and the sand fleas bite him as well,
    • then he is judged.“

Or alternatively

  • The reed-cutter travels to the Delta to get arrows;
    • When he has done more than his arms can do,
    • Mosquitoes have slain him, Gnats have slaughtered him,
    • He is quite worn out.

The idea of dead people being affected by decease may seem trivial, but the dead were corporeal, though finer, than in their previous life, and needed sustenance.

So, the Fields of Reeds should be percieved as horrendous.

Anyone know why they are the basis of their paradise?

  • 5
    Wouldn't your idea of paradise be a field of reeds, if everything else you knew of the world was desert? From the average Egyptian's perspective, wouldn't the fertile lands around the Nile feel like heaven on earth? Also, I think you are underestimating the role of the ushabti: the funeral figurines wouldn't just gather food for their deceased master, they'd take care of all manual labour. If the fields of Osiris were indeed infested with mosquitos like the real fields of reeds, it would be the ushabti that'd suffer their bites, not their deceased masters.
    – yannis
    Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 10:22

1 Answer 1


The Fields of Reeds were a PERFECT version of mortal reed fields. Egyptians who went there were immune to hunger, fatigue, and the temperature. They lived in eternal happiness, while never being bored.

Besides, the alternative was nonexistence. Personally, I'd rather work forever
than stop existing.

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