The Legend Of The Wanderings Of ISIS

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The god Osiris, as we have seen in the chapter on the Egyptian Religion
in the accompanying volume, lived and reigned at one time upon earth in
the form of a man. His twin-brother Set was jealous of his popularity,
and hated him to such a degree that he contrived a plan whereby he
succeeded in putting Osiris to death. Set then tried to usurp his
brother’s kingdom and to make himself sole lord of Egypt, and, although
no text states it distinctly, it is clear that he seized his brother’s
wife, Isis, and shut her up in his house. Isis was, however, under the
protection of the god Thoth, and she escaped with her unborn child, and
the following Legend describes the incidents that befell her, and the
death and revivification of Horus. It is cut in hieroglyphs upon a large
stone stele which was made for Ankh-Psemthek, a prophet of Nebun in the
reign of Nectanebus I, who reigned from 373 B.C. to 360 B.C. The stele
was dug up in 1828 at Alexandria, and was given to Prince Metternich by
Muhammad Ali Pasha; it is now commonly known as the “Metternich Stele.”
The Legend is narrated by the goddess herself, who says:
I am Isis. I escaped from the dwelling wherein my brother Set placed me.
Thoth, the great god, the Prince of Truth in heaven and on earth, said
unto me: “Come, O goddess Isis [hearken thou], it is a good thing to
hearken, for he who is guided by another liveth. Hide thyself with thy
child, and these things shall happen unto him. His body shall grow and
flourish, and strength of every kind shall be in him. He shall sit upon
his father’s throne, he shall avenge him, and he shall hold the exalted
position of ‘Governor of the Two Lands.'” I left the house of Set in the
evening, and there accompanied me Seven Scorpions, that were to travel
with me, and sting with their stings on my behalf. Two of them, Tefen
and Befen, followed behind me, two of them, Mestet and Mestetef, went
one on each side of me, and three, Petet, Thetet, and Maatet, prepared
the way for me. I charged them very carefully and adjured them to make
no acquaintance with any one, to speak to none of the Red Fiends, to pay
no heed to a servant (?), and to keep their gaze towards the ground so
that they might show me the way. And their leader brought me to Pa-Sui,
the town of the Sacred Sandals,[1] at the head of the district of the
Papyrus Swamps. When I arrived at Teb I came to a quarter of the town
where women dwelt. And a certain woman of quality spied me as I was
journeying along the road, and she shut her door in my face, for she was
afraid because of the Seven Scorpions that were with me. Then they took
counsel concerning her, and they shot out their poison on the tail of
Tefen. As for me, a peasant woman called Taha opened her door, and I
went into the house of this humble woman. Then the scorpion Tefen
crawled in under the door of the woman Usert [who had shut it in my
face], and stung her son, and a fire broke out in it; there was no water
to put it out, but the sky sent down rain, though it was not the time of
rain. And the heart of Usert was sore within her, and she was very sad,
for she knew not whether her son would live or die; and she went through
the town shrieking for help, but none came out at the sound of her
voice. And I was sad for the child’s sake, and I wished the innocent one
to live again. So I cried out to her, saying, Come to me! Come to me!
There is life in my mouth. I am a woman well known in her town. I can
destroy the devil of death by a spell which my father taught me. I am
his daughter, his beloved one.