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Egyptian Myth: Hathor's Rage and the Destruction of Mankind
Hathor's Rage and the Destruction of Mankind
Now Re had grown old and frail; His bones were like silver, His skin like burnished gold, and His hair like lapis lazuli. When the people of Egypt saw His feeble condition, they murmmered against HIm. Soon, there were plots amoung mankind to seize the Throne of Re. The plotters met in secret on the edge of the desert, and thought themsleves safe. However, the Sun God knew of the traitors and listened to their plotting.
Re's anger blazed forth as never before. He commanded the attendants of His throne, "Summon My daughter, the Eye of Re; send for mighty Shu and Tefnuit; bring Their children Geb and Nuit; fetch the Dark Ogdoad, the eight who were with Me in the watery Abyss; raise Nun Himself! But let Them all come secretly. If the traitors learn that I hath summoned a counsil of Gods they will know they have been discovered and attempt to escape their punishment."
The King of the Gods spoke to Nun, "O oldest of living things and all ye primeval Gods, I wept and men sprang from My tears. I gave them life, but now they are tired of My rule and plot against Me. Tell me, what should I do to them? I will not destroy the children of My tears until I have heard your wise advise."
Watery Nun spoke first, "My son, Thou art older than Thy father, greater than the God who created You. May you rule forever! Both Gods and men fear the terrible power of the Eye of the Sun; send it against the rebels."
Re looked out over Egypt and spake, "The plotters have already fled deep into the desert. They are afraid that I mightl learn of their plans and punish them. How shalt I persue them?"
The Gods cried out with one voice, "Send the Eye of Re to seize them! Send the Eye of the Sun to slaughter them! All of mankind is guilty, let the Eye go down as Hathor and destroy the children of Your tears. Let not one man remain alive."
Hathor, the Eye of the Sun, most beautiful and terrible of Goddesses, bowed before the throne and Re and nodded His head. Hathor went down into the desert, raging like a lioness. The plotters attempted to escape Her wrath, but to no avail. She siezed them and slaughtered them and drank their blood. Then merciless Hathor left the desert and raged through villages and towns, killing every man, woman, and child She could find. Re heard the prayers and screams of the dying and felt compassion for the children of His tears, but He remained silent.
When darkness fell, Hathor returned triumphantly to Her father. "Welcome in peace," declared Re. He tried to calm the fury of His daughter, but Hathor had tasted the blood of men and found it sweet. She was eager for the morning when She could return to Egypt and complete the slaughter of mankind to avenge their treachery. Soon, the power of Re would be unquestioned, but He would have no subjects to rule.
The Sun God wondered how He could save mankind, as He could not go back on His Divine Word. Soon, he created a plan to halt His terrible daughter. He ordered His followers to run, swifter than the shadows, to the city of Abu and bring back all the ochre they could find there. When they had returned with baskets full of red soil, He sent them out again to fetch the High Priest of Re, from Memphis, and all the slave girls who worked in his temple. Re ordered the High Priest to pound the ochre to make a red dye and set the slave girls to brewing beer. Just before dawn, the red dye was mixed with the beer until it looked like fresh blood. The King of the Gods smiled. "With this sleeping potion mankind will be rescued from My daughter," He said. "The people have suffered enough."
Re had the jars carried to the place where Hathor would begin Her killing and ordered the beer to be poured out to flood the fields with crimson.
As soon as it was light, Hathor came down into Egypt to sniff out and slaughter the few who were left alive. The first thing She saw was a great pool of blood. The Goddess waded into it and was enchanted by Her own reflection in the crimson surface. She stooped to lap up the blood and drank the pool dry.
The beer was strong, and the Goddess soon became very happy. Her head whirled and She could not remember why She had been sent into Egypt. Hathor made Her way back to the palace of Re and sank down at Her father's feet to sleep for many days.
"Welcome, gentle Hathor," spake Re. "Mankind shall remember their escape from Your fury by drinking strong beer at all Your festivals." Hathor was known from then on as The Lady of Drunkennes.
But Re was still angry and saddened over the rebellion of mankind. Nothing would be as it once was in the Golden Age before their treachery. When Hathor finally awoke, She felt as She had never felt before. Re asked Her, "Dost Thy head ache? Dost Thy cheeks burn? Dost Thou feel ill?" As He spoke, illness first came into being in Egypt.
Then Re summoned a second council of the Gods and spake, "My heart is too weary for Me to remain as King of Egypt. I am weak and old, let Me sink back into the Watery Abyss until it is time for Me to be born again."
Nun said quickly, "Shu, protect Your father! Nuit, carry Him upon Thy back."
"How can I carry the mighty King of the Gods?" asked gentle Nuit, and Nun
told Her to turn Herself into a cow. And so Nuit was turned into a vast cow with
golden flanks and long curved horns. Re mounted the Divine Cow, and rode away