Scene Ten:

The King is Apparently Dead

 

 Enter MA'AT and NEPHTHYS Onstage.

 MA'AT:

How could this have happened to Osiris? He has been nailed inside a box, and is floating down the river. He is presumed dead. Why did he get into the box? Much of this story is beyond explaining. So many things that we had never seen before in the world now came upon us for the first time. Set got his revenge by teaching people his secrets, just as Osiris had done. Fear entered the Earth. We had to create many new words. I take this part of the story in short doses.

Exit. MA'AT KHU flies, recedes, vanishes.

NEPHTHYS:

We only tell you what happened. We don't always know why. We're enacting mysteries here. All we know of the things that came next were told to us by Anubis. He was the only one to run along the riverbank for days at a time, so he could keep Osiris in his sight longer than anyone else as the King floated down the river to the sea.

ANUBIS' CLAIRVOYANT KHU images show OSIRIS' journey. Lights come up on ISIS and ANUBIS. ISIS sits in tears, devastated by what she has just heard.

 

ISIS:

No more.

ANUBIS:

Mother, we must do it. As long as my father is inside the sealed container, his body cannot decay. So we find him, you revive him. Mother--

ISIS:

I am not . . .

ANUBIS:

What?

ISIS:

Anyone's mother. I am ha! the Mother Goddess. And I have no child. Osiris gives me his seed a million times. The women pray I will quicken their wombs. But where are my children? When do I bear fruit?

ANUBIS: What about me?

 

ISIS:

You are the one Osiris and I raised and loved and delighted in, and Osiris is your father. But Anubis . . . I am not your mother.

ANUBIS:

You are not my mother? How much comes in one day? (Long pause.) Who is?

ISIS:

Which of the Neters do you find most stunningly attractive?

ANUBIS:

Oh! Nephthys? (Pause.) Are you serious? The reason I find her so exciting is that she is my mother? And if my father hadn't gotten smothered in a box, would I ever have found out? Nephthys is my mother! I feel a little handsomer instantly -- but is this what it's like to be king? Everything comes at once before they even put the gold hat on me?

ISIS:

I don't know. All of this is happening for the first time for me too.

ANUBIS:

Is there anything I can do to help you?

ISIS:

No. Thank you. I'm going to walk along the river. What can I do to help you? Are you ready to be crowned?

ANUBIS:

No. Shall I have things made ready for you?

ISIS:

Too much! Make a tomb ready. (Pause.) Not for your father.

ANUBIS bows and exits. LIGHTS fade on ISIS as MA'AT KHU appears. MUSIC: "Have You Seen Osiris?" begins. ANUBIS' CV's continue. ENSEMBLE, as river animals, bear the box on a stream of blue light.

MA'AT:

There was little more to say. The whole Black Land is following Osiris, and it is time for our best healers to follow too. As the box that bears Osiris floats down toward the sea, all the life of the river follows him. The geese, the egrets and herons, white and blue, circle over him. The crocodiles and the river serpents follow. They do not attack one another. The other animals run to see. The owl fasts all night, and the hawk by day, so that all the small creatures of the ground can run without fear along the banks where the river bears Osiris.

ANUBIS enters, following the box asa it moves down the river.

ANUBIS:

The children run as fast as they can, and their mothers run and call after them with bread by day and torches at night. And when the people can run no longer, they stand on the bank, their hearts heaving and panting as though they would send their breath over the water and into Osiris. They watch until the King drifts away so far that they cannot see him any more. And then they stand awhile. In silence.

 ISIS enters, and stands watching the box as the "Have You Seen Osiris?" MUSIC fades.

End of Act One

If you'd like to continue, you can go to Act Two.

 

Or you can Choose from other Scenes

 

For Background, go to Stories of Thoth and Ma'at

 

Or glance at the Playbill 

 

Copyright 2002 Dan Furst

 

 

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