Ah, Whynot, why did you have to buy that statue? It’s better that you don’t know its history, for I do, and I’m none the better for it, but as this is the Straight Dope, I will tell you, for on this board we deal with truths, and not illusions.
In the distant city of Ur, at the dawn of recorded time, when gods still walked the earth (or so the legend goes), there lived a mason, working in bricks and stone, named Um-Nadi. He should have been happy, with a wife he loved, a son and daughter, and a good business. However, there was one thing he didn’t have, and the lack of this thing made the wine turn to bile in his mouth and filled him with sadness and rage. Such is often the way, when a man who should be content focuses more on what he does not have than what he does. Um-Nadi lacked what he wanted most in the world, which was to be made Royal Builder to the Kings of Ur. But how to accomplish this? Um-Nadi needed a plan. He knew that to gain the favor of the king, the best way was to gain the notice of the queen, for the king doted on his wife, and would give her anything she desired. But he also knew that for any man but the king to look upon the queen would mean death, for such were the harsh laws of Ur.
Now, before I go on, I must make it clear that no man ever had more faithful or obedient children than Um-Nadi. They would obey him in every particular, for they were most loyal and most diligent. Therefore, when Um-Nadi said to his daughter, “I will take you and sell you as a slave to the palace, where you must spy on the queen for me, and find out what she desires.”, his daughter only said, “Yes, father”, although inside she wept. Her, a free woman, to be reduced to slavery! No more could she see her mother or brother, or even her father (except at the secret rendezvous point where she would tell him the queen’s secrets)! Now the young baker who lived nearby never could make her his wife! Yet, she obeyed, and this evil thing by Um-Nadi was done.
After she had been in the palace for six whole months, each month reporting back to Um-Nadi nothing of consequence, she reported back to her father startling news. The queen was ill, unto death, and nothing any of the priests or sages of Ur could do would save her. The illness would be slow, but nonetheless fatal. But Um-Nadi knew something that all the sages and priests did not, for he knew of a special plant that only grows far from civilized lands, that could cure the rare sickness of the queen. How he came to know this, I do not know, for it is not recorded, but as you well know, all families have secrets and traditions passed down.
So, with his son, he set out to the mountains of Armenia, far from the land between the two rivers, so as to find the plant to cure the queen. They wandered far, and suffered more risks and hazzards than I have time to record here, but at last, they found the cure. But, alas! When his son reached to pick the plant from the mountain crevice where it grew, a viper struck from the rock, and bit him, and he died from its venom. Now, with the plant, but heavy of heart, Um-Nadi buried his son, and returned to Ur, to present the plant to the King.
When he returned to Ur, he went straight to the palace, where he turned over his medicinal herb to the priests and sages, who made from it a broth to cure the queen. So grateful was she that she prevailed upon her husband, and he named Um-Nadi Royal Builder.
Alas, when a man has reached the heights, fate brings him low, for no sooner did he return home to his wife to share her news, but he found she was herself sick with the fatal sickness, and Um-Nadi had not the time to go back to the mountains of Armenia to recover more of the healing plant so to return before her death. So, there was nothing he could do but to watch his wife die. Bereft, Um-Nadi carved the statue you have…the one of himself, embittered and broken. For he had learned, only after the cost of all he loved dear, with his wife and son dead, and his daughter enslaved, that he was a fool. Thus do we overlook the happiness we have by focusing on what we do not have, and that too often the pursuit of further riches, if not done with wisdom and moderation, can lead to the loss of our current wealth.
Oh, the right arm is raised? That’s different, then…I don’t know anything about that staute.