THE LEGEND OF THE NILE The Great God Khnemu-Ra is the god of the Nile, who from the beginn

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THE LEGEND OF THE NILE The Great God Khnemu-Ra is the god of the Nile, who from the beginning has been worshipped and has shown favor to the people of Egypt. Under his protection and under the protection of the Nile, they flourished and increased. For from the Nile comes the food for the Egyptians. Every year the Egyptians sowed the seeds of their crops and the River spreads itself over the land with blessing. When it returns to it's bed, the seeds that have been sown bring forth food and all the people are fed. In the eleventh year of the reign of King Teheser, The Nile ceased to show favor and remained within it's banks. No blessing was spread, the crops were poor, and the people complained. However, the granaries were full with what remained of the years before and none felt want. All hoped for better things in the coming year, but again, the Great River remained within it's banks. This went on for seven years, until there was no food left in the land. In the eighth year the famine was so sore, that everywhere men, women and children were dying from starvation, It seemed that love, pity and courage had gone from the land as well as the corn and grapes. King Teheser was grieved at the woes of his people, and sought the help of the god I-em-hetep, son of Ptah, the great physician, who in former times had delivered the Egyptians from their troubles. However, I-em-hetep did not answer to the King's prayer. The King deemed that the god did not reply because the matter was not his. So he sought to find out the name of the god of the Nile. He sent for his governor, Mater, of the southern provinces, to gain from him the information he needed. Hurrying to the King, Mater bowed low and said: "O King, in the region that thou hast given me to rule lies the wonderful island Elephantine. On it was built the first city that was ever known in the world, and out of it rises the Sun. Within the island is a great cavern, which is in two parts, each shaped like the breast of a woman, and inside this cavern is the source of the Nile. At the proper season of the year, the god Khnemu draws back the bolts to the door of the cavern, and the waters rush out to bless the land. But now the god draws not back the bolts. He sits in the temple of the gods which is built on the island of Elephantine, silent and motionless, because men have not made offerings to him of the good gifts he has given them, and have not remembered his name." Hearing this King Teheser went to the temple of the gods and offered sacrifice and prayer to Khnemu. The god looked on him and saw the anguish of his spirit and the love he had for his people. Khnemu took pity on him and said : "I am the Nile, who rises to give health to those who toil. I am the guide and director of all men, the Almighty father of the gods. Now I will have pity on you and your land and the Nile shall rise again to bless the land as it has done in times past. But remember O King how my shrine is broken down and no man has put a hand to build it up, although all around lie the stones that would make it whole." His heart filled with thankfulness, King Teheser pledged to honor the great temple, and promised that the name of Khnemu would not be forgotten again. As soon as he left, the King made a royal decree that the lands on each side of the Nile should be set apart for the support of the temple. Priests were appointed to serve Khnemu, and the land around payed a tax for their maintenance. All these the King caused to be written on a rock. Many thousands of years later, in the year 1890, this stone was found on the island of Sahul and the story of the god of the Nile became known to the world. E.B. Toronto The Homestead (416) 272-4067 1:250/626

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