Legends Of The Gods The Egyptian Texts, edited with Translations

Page: 22

[FN#40] This sa could be transferred by a god or goddess to a human being, either by an embrace or through some offering which was eaten. Thus Temu transferred the magical power of his life to Shu and Tefnut by embracing them,[FN#41] and in the Ritual of the Divine Cult[FN#42] the priest says, The two vessels of milk of Temu are the "sa of my limbs." The man who possessed this sa could transfer it to his friend by embracing him and then "making passes" with his hands along his back. The sa could be received by a man from a god and then transmitted by him to a statue by taking it in his arms, and this ceremony was actually performed by the king in the Ritual of the Divine Cult.[FN#43] The primary source of this sa was Ra, who bestowed it without measure on the blessed dead,[FN#44] and caused them to live for ever thereby. These, facts make it tolerably certain that the magical power of Khensu Nefer-hetep was transferred to Khensu Pa-ari-sekher in one of two ways: either the statue of the latter was brought near to that of the former and it received the sa by contact, or the high priest first received the sa from the greater god and then transmitted it to the lesser god by embraces and "passes" with his hands. Be this as it may, Khensu Pa-ari-sekher received the magical power, and having been placed in his boat, he set out for Bekhten, accompanied by five smaller boats, and chariots and horses which marched on each side of him.

[FN#40] Text of Unas, line 562.

[FN#41] Pyramid Texts, Pepi I., l. 466.

[FN#42] Ed. Moret, p. 21.

[FN#43] Ibid., p. 99.

[FN#44] Pepi I., line 666.

When after a journey of seventeen months Khensu Pa-ari-sekher arrived in Bekhten, he was cordially welcomed by the Prince, and, having gone to the place where the Princess who was possessed of a devil lived, he exercised his power to such purpose that she was healed immediately. Moreover, the devil which had been cast out admitted that Khensu Pa- ari-sekher was his master, and promised that he would depart to the place whence he came, provided that the Prince of Bekhten would celebrate a festival in his honour before his departure. Meanwhile the Prince and his soldiers stood by listening to the conversation between the god and the devil, and they were very much afraid. Following the instructions of Khensu Pa-ari-sekher the Prince made a great feast in honour of the supernatural visitors, and then the devil departed to the "place which he loved," and there was general rejoicing in the land. The Prince of Bekhten was so pleased with the Egyptian god that he determined not to allow him to return to Egypt. When the statue of Khensu Pa-ari-sekher had been in Bekhten for three years and nine months, the Prince in a vision saw the god, in the form of a golden hawk, come forth from his shrine, and fly up into the air and direct his course to Egypt. Realizing that the statue of the god was useless without its indwelling spirit, the Prince of Bekhten permitted the priests of Khensu Pa-ari-sekher to depart with it to Egypt, and dismissed them with gifts of all kinds. In due course they arrived in Egypt and the priests took their statue to the temple of Khensu Nefer-hetep, and handed over to that god all the gifts which the Prince of Bekhten had given them, keeping back nothing for their own god. After this Khensu Pa-ari-sekher returned to his temple in peace, in the thirty-third year of the reign of Rameses II., having been absent from it about eight years.



The text of this most interesting legend is found in hieroglyphics on one side of a large rounded block of granite some eight or nine feet high, which stands on the south-east portion of Sahal, a little island lying in the First Cataract, two or three miles to the south of Elephantine Island and the modern town of Aswan. The inscription is not cut into the rock in the ordinary way, but was "stunned" on it with a blunted chisel, and is, in some lights, quite invisible to anyone standing near the rock, unless he is aware of its existence. It is in full view of the river-path which leads from Mahallah to Philae, and yet it escaped the notice of scores of travellers who have searched the rocks and islands in the Cataract for graffiti and inscriptions. The inscription, which covers a space six feet by five feet, was discovered accidentally on February 6th, 1889, by the late Mr. C. E. Wilbour, a distinguished American gentleman who spent many years in research in Egypt. He first copied the text, discovering in the course of his work the remarkable nature of its contents and then his friend Mr. Maudslay photographed it. The following year he sent prints from Mr. Maudslay's negatives to Dr. Brugsch, who in the course of 1891 published a transcript of the text with a German translation and notes in a work entitled Die biblischen sieben Jahre der Hungersnoth, Leipzig, 8vo.