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THE LEGEND OF THE DESTRUCTION OF MANKIND.
[Here is the story of Ra,] the god who was self-begotten and self-created, after he had assumed the sovereignty over men and women, and gods, and things, the ONE god. Now men and women were speaking words of complaint, saying:--"Behold, his Majesty (Life, Strength, and Health to him!) hath grown old, and his bones have become like (silver, and his members have turned into gold and his hair is like unto real lapis-lazuli." His Majesty heard the words of complaint which men and women were uttering, and his Majesty (Life, Strength, and Health to him!) said unto those who were in his train:--"Cry out, and bring to me my Eye, and Shu, and Tefnut, and Seb, and Nut, and the father-gods, and the mother-gods who were with me, even when I was in Nu side by side with my god Nu. Let there be brought along with my Eye his ministers, and let them be led to me hither secretly, so that men and women may not perceive them [coming] hither, and may not therefore take to flight with their hearts. Come thou 1 with them
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to the Great House, and let them declare their plans (or, arrangements) fully, for I will go from Nu into the place wherein I brought about my own existence, and let those gods be brought unto me there." Now the gods were drawn up on each side of Ra, and they bowed down before his Majesty until their heads touched the ground, and the maker of men and women, the king of those who have knowledge, spake his words in the presence of the Father of the first-born gods. And the gods spake in the presence of his Majesty, saying:--"Speak unto us, for we are listening to them" (i.e., thy words). Then RA spake unto Nu, saying:--"O thou first-born god from whom I came into being, O ye gods of ancient time, my ancestors, take ye heed to what men and women [are doing]; for behold, those who were created by my Eye are uttering words of complaint against me. Tell me what ye would do in the matter, and consider this thing for me, and seek out [a plan] for me, for I will not slay them until I have heard what ye shall say to me concerning it."
Then the Majesty of Nu, to son Ra, spake, saying:--"Thou art the god who art greater than he who made thee, thou art the sovereign of those who were created with thee, thy throne is set, and the fear of thee is great; let thine Eye go against those who have uttered blasphemies against thee." And the Majesty of Ra, said:--" Behold, they have betaken themselves to flight into the mountain lands, for their
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hearts are afraid because of the words which they have uttered." Then the gods spake in the presence of his Majesty, saying:--"Let thine Eye go forth and let it destroy for thee those who revile thee with words of evil, for there is no eye whatsoever that can go before it and resist thee and it when it journeyeth in the form of Hathor." Thereupon this goddess went forth and slew the men and the women who were on the mountain (or, desert land). And the Majesty of this god said, "Come, come in peace, O Hathor, for the work is accomplished." Then this goddess said, "Thou hast made me to live, for when I gained the mastery over men and women it was sweet to my heart;" and the Majesty of Ra said, "I myself will be master over them as [their] king, and I will destroy them." And it came to pass that Sekhet of the offerings waded about in the night season in their blood, beginning at Suten-henen. 1 Then the Majesty of Ra, spake [saying], "Cry out, and let there come to me swift and speedy messengers who shall be able to run like the wind . . . .;" and straightway messengers of this [kind were brought unto him. And the Majesty of this god spake [saying], "Let these messengers go to Abu, 2 and bring unto me mandrakes in great numbers;" and [when] these
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mandrakes were brought unto him the Majesty of this god gave them to Sekhet, the goddess who dwelleth in Annu (Heliopolis) to crush. And behold, when the maidservants were bruising the grain for [making] beer, these mandrakes were placed in the vessels which were to hold the beer, and some of the blood of the men and women [who had been slain]. Now they made seven thousand vessels of beer. Now when the Majesty of RE, the King of the South and North, had come with the gods to look at the vessels of beer, and behold, the daylight had appeared after the slaughter of men and women by the goddess in their season as she sailed up the river, the Majesty of Ra said, "It is good, it is good, nevertheless I must protect men and women against her." And Ra, said, "Let them take up the vases and carry them to the place where the men and women were slaughtered by her." Then the Majesty of the King of the South and North in the three-fold beauty of the night caused to be poured out these vases of beer which make [men] to lie down (or, sleep), and the meadows of the Four Heavens 1 were filled with beer (or, water) by reason of the Souls of the Majesty of this god. And it came to pass that when this goddess arrived at the dawn of day, she found these [Heavens] flooded [with beer], and she was pleased thereat; and
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she drank [of the beer and blood], and her heart rejoiced, and she became drunk, and she gave no further attention to men and women. Then said the Majesty of Ra to this goddess, "Come in peace, come in peace, O Amit," 1 and thereupon beautiful women came into being in the city of Amit (or, Amem). And the Majesty of Ra spake [concerning] this goddess, [saying], "Let there be made for her vessels of the beer which produceth sleep at every holy time and season of the year, and they shall be in number according to the number of my hand-maidens;" and from that early time until now men have been wont to make on the occasions of the festival of Hathor vessels of the beer which make them to sleep in number according to the number of the handmaidens of Ra. And the Majesty of Ra spake unto this goddess, [saying], "I am smitten with the pain of the fire of sickness; whence cometh to me [this] pain?" And the Majesty of Ra said, "I live, but my heart hath become exceedingly weary 2 with existence with them (i.e., with men); I have slain [some of] them, but there is a remnant of worthless ones, for the destruction which I wrought among them was not as great as my power." Then the gods who were in his following said unto him, "Be not overcome by thy inactivity, for thy might is in proportion to thy will." And the Majesty of this god said unto the Majesty of Nu, "My members are weak for (or, as
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at) the first time; I will not permit this to come upon me a second time." And the Majesty of the god Nu said, "O son Shu, be thou the Eye 'for thy father . . . . . and avenue (?) him, and 'thou goddess Nut, place him . . . . . ... And the goddess Nut said, How can this be then, "O my father Nu? "Hail," said Nut . . . . . to the god Nu., and the goddess straightway became [a cow], and she set the Majesty of Ra upon [her] back . . . . . And when these things had been done, men and women saw the god Ra, upon the back [of the cow]. Then these men and women said, "Remain with us, and we will overthrow thine enemies who speak words of blasphemy [against thee.], and [destroy them]." Then his Majesty [Ra] set out for the Great House, and [the gods who were in the train of Ra remained] with them (i.e., the men); during that time the earth was in darkness. And when the earth became light [again]j and the morning had dawned, the men came forth with their bows and their [weapons], and they set their arms in motion to shoot the enemies [of Ra]. Then said the Majesty of this god, "Your "transgressions of violence are placed behind you, for the slaughtering of the enemies is above the slaughter [of sacrifice];" thus came into being the slaughter [of sacrifice]. And the Majesty of this god said unto Nut, "I have placed myself upon my back in order to stretch myself out." What then is the
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meaning of this? It meaneth that he united (?) himself with Nut. [Thus came into being] . . . . . . Then said the Majesty of this god, "I am departing from them (i.e., from men), and he must come after (me who would see me;" thus came into being . . . . . Then the Majesty of this god looked forth from its interior, saying, "Gather together [men for me], and make ready for me an abode for multitudes;" thus came into being . . . . . . . And his Majesty (life, health, and strength be to him!) said, "Let a great field (sekhet) be produced (hetep); "thereupon Sekhet-hetep came into being. [And the god said], "I will gather herbs (aarat) therein;" thereupon Sekhet-aaru came into being. [And the god said], "I will make it to contain as dwellers things (khet) like stars of all sorts;" thereupon the stars (akhekha) came into being. Then the goddess Nut trembled because of the height.
And the Majesty of Ra said, "I decree that supports be to bear [the goddess up];" thereupon the props of heaven (heh) came into being. And the Majesty of Ra said, O my son Shu, I pray thee to set thyself under [my] daughter Nut, and guard thou for me the supports (heh) of the millions (heh) which are there, and which live in darkness. Take thou the goddess upon thy head, and act thou as nurse for her;" thereupon came into being [the custom] of a son nursing a daughter, and [the custom] of a father carrying a son upon his head.
15:1 The god here addressed appears to have been Nu.
19:1 Or, Henen-su, חָנֵס, i.e., Herakleopolis, Magna.
19:2 I.e., Elephantine, or Syene, a place better known by the Arabic name ASWAN.
21:1 I.e., the South, North, West, and East of the sky.
23:1 I.e., "the fair and gracious goddess."
23:2 Literally, "My heart hath stopped greatly."