Now, where were we? As I recall, we were strolling down the mahogany-lined corridor of the company yacht of the ancient Egyptian gods, admiring the portraits of the founders of the divine dynasty and exploring their place in the company’s history. We were just about to reach the portraits of the fourth generation, the “children of disorder”: Osiris, Isis, Seth, Nephthys and their shadowy sibling Horus the Elder. Here they are:
That’s Osiris on his throne with Isis and Nephthys behind him, and that’s Horus the falcon and Seth the we’re-not-sure-what-but-it’s-probably-mythological clapping their godly, supportive hands on either shoulder of the King.
And what an appropriate time to return to them. To look at them, as with many children, you’d think butter wouldn’t melt. However, in the words of the Book of the Dead:
“..what is to be done with the Children of Nut? They have fomented war, they have stirred up quarrels, they have caused disorder, they have fomented rebellion…” words which must be echoing around a presidential palace not a million miles from Egypt as I type.
As far as the senior members of the firm were concerned, the children of Nut had no self discipline and constantly gave in to their worse instincts. Atum the chairman used to complain about them all the time to Thoth, the company secretary of the gods. Thoth, who was also the office timekeeper, told him he shouldn’t have to put up with it and he should put a time limit on them: cut their hours and put them all on fixed-term contracts.
Of course, you can’t curtail junior executives’ terms and conditions without imposing similar or even worse cuts on their subordinates. Following through the inexorable logic, Atum placed limits on the lifespans of human beings and even on the length of time they could stay dead. (I’m sure I saw that last bit in the Coalition Plan for Government.) One day, Atum decreed, you lot, dead or alive, will all go back into the primeval ocean and I can put my feet up and have a snooze.
The older gods blamed the children of Nut for setting a bad example to mankind, leading them eventually to rebel against the rule of the gods themselves. But that’s another post.