Hathors Decree a Destiny

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The Seven Hathors, goddesses of fate, determined the destiny of a child at birth.

A king had no son. He prayed to the gods for a child, and they ruled that his prayers would be answered. His wife bore a son. The Hathors then decreed his destiny: he would die by a crocodile or a serpent or a dog. The king was so upset that he had a house built in the desert, completely furnished and with people—the child would not leave this house. When the child was grown, he saw a dog and wanted one. The king ordered that a little pet dog be brought to him. As the child grew into manhood, he asked his father why he was kept isolated. He knew that he was destined to three fates, but wanted to go his own way. The king agreed, gave him arms and the dog, and the youth journeyed in the desert, living on the game of the desert. And he came to the prince of Naharaina, who had a daughter and no other children. A house had been built for her, with seventy windows seventy cubits from the ground. The chief said to the sons of other princes that the one who reached the window of his daughter would marry her. Now the youth came from the desert, was bathed and perfumed, and he told them that he was the son of an officer of the land of Egypt, that his mother was dead and his father had remarried. This woman, when she bore her own children, came to hate him, and he became a fugitive. They embraced him. Then he saw the other young men trying to climb the building, day after day. He climbed the building, reached the window of the daughter of the chief of Naharaina, and she kissed and embraced him. When the prince was informed of this, he asked which son of the princes had done it. He was told that it was the son of an officer of the land of Egypt, fleeing from his stepmother. The prince was angry, insisting that he would not give his daughter to an Egyptian fugitive. They told the youth to return to where he had come from. But the young woman refused to allow him to go, insisting that she would neither eat nor drink if he left. Then the father ordered that the youth be killed, and she said that she too would die. The prince then summoned the youth and his daughter to his presence, asking who the young man was, and he repeated the story of the stepmother. The prince then allowed the young man to marry his daughter, giving him house, servants, fields, and livestock. After a time, the youth told his wife of his three fates—crocodile, serpent, dog. She insisted that his dog be killed, but he would not do that. She was afraid and would not allow her husband to go out. In another Egyptian town, a crocodile emerged from a river and moved to the town where the youth was. But a strong man in that town kept the creature from escaping for two months. One evening, while the youth slept, a serpent moved to bite him, but his wife saw it and had her servants give it milk; it became drunk and the wife then killed it. She told her husband that the first of his dooms had been eliminated. Days passed, and the youth went to work in the fields, followed by his dog. Later, he followed the dog to a river, entering the river with the dog. Then the crocodile emerged, and it took the youth to the place where the strong man was. And the crocodile said to the youth, “I am your doom, following after you …” (The papyrus breaks off here.)


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