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Legends Of The Gods The Egyptian Texts, edited with Translations

Page: 28

Now soon after Isis had restored to life the son of the woman who had shown churlishness to her, a terrible calamity fell upon her, for her beloved son Horus was stung by a scorpion and died. The news of this event was conveyed to her by the gods, who cried out to her to come to see her son Horus, whom the terrible scorpion Uhat had killed. Isis, stabbed with pain at the news, as if a knife had been driven into her body, ran out distraught with grief. It seems that she had gone to perform a religious ceremony in honour of Osiris in a temple near Hetep-hemt, leaving her child carefully concealed in Sekhet-An. During her absence the scorpion Uhat, which had been sent by Set, forced its way into the biding-place of Horus, and there stung him to death. When Isis came and found the dead body, she burst forth in lamentations, the sound of which brought all the people from the neighbouring districts to her side. As she related to them the history of her sufferings they endeavoured to console her, and when they found this to be impossible they lifted up their voices and wept with her. Then Isis placed her nose in the mouth of Horus so that she might discover if he still breathed, but there was no breath in his throat; and when she examined the wound in his body made by the fiend Aun-Ab she saw in it traces of poison. No doubt about his death then remained in her mind, and clasping him in her arms she lifted him up, and in her transports of grief leaped about like fish when they are laid on red-hot coals. Then she uttered a series of heartbreaking laments, each of which begins with the words "Horus is bitten." The heir of heaven, the son of Un- Nefer, the child of the gods, he who was wholly fair, is bitten! He for whose wants I provided, he who was to avenge his father, is bitten! He for whom I cared and suffered when he was being fashioned in my womb, is bitten! He whom I tended so that I might gaze upon him, is bitten! He whose life I prayed for is bitten! Calamity hath overtaken the child, and he hath perished.

Whilst Isis was saying these and many similar words, her sister Nephthys, who had been weeping bitterly for her nephew Horus as she wandered about among the swamps, came, in company with the Scorpion- goddess Serqet, and advised Isis to pray to heaven for help. Pray that the sailors in the Boat of Ra may cease from rowing, for the Boat cannot travel onwards whilst Horus lies dead. Then Isis cried out to heaven, and her voice reached the Boat of Millions of Years, and the Disk ceased to move onward, and came to a standstill. From the Boat Thoth descended, being equipped with words of power and spells of all kinds, and bearing with him the "great command of maa-kheru," i.e., the WORD, whose commands were performed, instantly and completely, by every god, spirit, fiend, human being and by every thing, animate and inanimate, in heaven, earth, and the Other World. Then he came to Isis and told her that no harm could possibly have happened to Horus, for he was under the protection of the Boat of Ra; but his words failed to comfort Isis, and though she acknowledged the greatness of his designs, she complained that they savoured of delay. "What is the good," she asks, "of all thy spells, and incantations, and magical formulae, and the great command of maa-kheru, if Horus is to perish by the poison of a scorpion, and to lie here in the arms of Death? Evil, evil is his destiny, for it hath entailed the deepest misery for him and death."


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