The Legend of Osiris, Part One
Today I have been lucky enough to be told the legend of Osiris from someone who not only knows very well how to tell a story, but also knows how to tell it in a way that would make you figure out all its moral as you keep listening. So I have done my research, and will share it with you in the few coming posts. But let me warn you, if you're Egyptian, it's pretty different from the one we were taught in school. So clear your minds, and get ready to know the real Legend =). But before I start on the legend itself, let me tell you that this wonderful story was the base of the Ancient Egyptian religion. You'll the importance of that later, in the last post of lessons learned.
- Osiris: The king of all kings. He represents unity.
- Isis: His loving wife
- Horus: Their son, the prince who is to become king after his father.
- Seth: Osiris's brother who wants to take over his brother's throne.
The story starts with a mother called Nut giving birth to five babies in the five days between the old and the new year*. Three of these children are Osiris, Isis and Seth. When Osiris is born, the whole world hears a voice saying that "the lord of all Earth has been born". Osiris grows up, marries Isis and he becomes king, a king of justice, the savior of mankind, that's what they call him. At that time Egypt prospers, Egyptians become more civilized. Just like any other Egyptian king, he's known to be an aspect of divinity. He teaches Egyptians about Agriculture and animal husbandry. He teaches them the laws to live by and shows them the proper ways to worship the gods. And for all that, Osiris becomes a very loved king.
But any true king has his enemies, and Osiris has one in his brother, Seth. Seth becomes very jealous of all the success of Osiris and wants to rule instead of him. He, along with his wicked helpers, make many plans to take over the throne. Then one day, Seth comes up with a very powerful plan. He invites all the kings, and Osiris, the king of all kings, to a great feast. He shows his guests a wonderful chest, and tells them that whoever fits in that chest will have it as a gift from him. Everyone tries to get in the chest, but nobody fits until Osiris tries it. Seth, who stole his brother's measurements, made the chest to only fit him. The moment he's in the chest, they close it, nail it, and pour molten lead on it, so it's never opened again. Then to make sure that this is the end of Osiris, Seth's helpers throw the chest in the Nile.
The chest floats through the Nile, and up to the Mediterranean Sea, and comes ashore at Byblos (now in Syria or Lebanon). It sits under a Tamarisk bush, which it soon becomes a part of. With the help of Osiris's chest, the small bush becomes a mighty tree, with the chest enclosed in it. The king sees the tree, and orders his men to cut it and use it as a pillar in his palace.
Meanwhile, Isis, being a loving wife, does not only grieve her husband's death, but also makes it her main aim to find his body and to give him a proper funeral and burial. With the help of some children who were playing by the Nile when the chest was thrown, and with the help of her magic, Isis knows where Osiris's body is hid.
Isis decides to go to Byblos to get her husband's body back from the king's palace. She befriends the queen's maids and shows them her magic, which in turn they show to the queen. Eventually she reaches the palace, and after staying there for some time, she tells the queen of her wish, and she grants her her husband's body.
To Be Continued....
* After being put under a spell by the god, Raa, who used to be Nut's husband, she couldn't give birth on any day of the year. With the the help of her friend and the goddess of the moon, she was able to give birth in the five days which are not included in the 360 days of the year.
The Ancient Egyptian Calendar is the same as the Egyptian Coptic Calendar which is still used in the Coptic Church for their feasts, by farmers, fishermen, weather people, and by all of us to celebrate the day we've been celebrating for thousands of years, Sham El Neseem =).