XIX

XIX. After these things Osiris returned from the other world, and appeared to his son Horus, and encouraged him to fight, and at the same time instructed him in the exercise of arms. He then asked him what he thought was the most glorious action a man could perform, to which Horus replied, "To revenge the injuries offered to his father 2 and mother." Osiris then asked him what animal he thought most serviceable to a soldier, and Horus replied, "A horse." On this Osiris

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wondered, and he questioned him further, asking him why he preferred a horse to a lion, and Horus replied, "Though the lion is the more serviceable creature to one who stands in need of help, yet is the horse more useful in overtaking and cutting off a flying enemy." 1 These replies caused Osiris to rejoice greatly, for they showed him that his son was sufficiently prepared for his enemy. We are, moreover, told that amongst the great numbers who were continually deserting from Typhon's party was his concubine Thoueris, 2 and that a serpent which pursued her as she was coming over to Horus was slain by his soldiers. The memory of this action is, they say, still preserved in that cord which is thrown into the midst of their assemblies, and then chopped in pieces. Afterwards a battle took place between Horus and Typhon, which lasted many days, but Horus was at length victorious, and Typhon was taken prisoner. He was delivered over into the custody of Isis, who, instead of putting him to death, loosed his fetters and set him free. This action of his mother incensed Horus to such a degree that he seized her, and pulled the royal crown off her head; but Hermes came forward, and set upon her head the head of an ox

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instead of a helmet. 1 After this Typhon accused Horus of illegitimacy, but, by the assistance of Hermes, his legitimacy was fully established by a decree of the gods themselves. 2 After this two other battles were fought between Horus and Typhon, and in both Typhon was defeated. Moreover, Isis is said to have had union with Osiris after his death, 3 and she brought forth Harpokrates, 4 who came into the world before his time, and was lame in his lower limbs.


Footnotes

226:1 We meet with a similar statement in the Tale of the Two Brothers, where we are told that the younger brother, having declared his innocence to the elder brother, out off his phallus and threw it into the river, where it was devoured by the naru fish.

226:2 The texts give as a very common title of Horus, "Horus, the avenger of his father."

227:1 There is no evidence that the Egyptians employed the horse in war before the XVIIIth Dynasty, a fact which proves that the dialogue here given is an invention of a much later date than the original legend of Osiris.

227:2 In Egyptian, TA-URT, the hippopotamus goddess.






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