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Thereafter Isis, as they relate, learned that the chest had been cast up by the sea near the land of Byblus1 and that the waves had gently set it down in the midst of a clump of heather. The heather in a short time ran up into a very beautiful and massive stock, and enfolded and embraced the chest with its growth and concealed it within its trunk. The king of the country admired the great size of the plant, and cut off the portion that enfolded the chest (which was now hidden from sight), and used it as a pillar to [p. 41] support the roof of his house. These facts, they say, Isis ascertained by the divine inspiration of Rumour, and came to Byblus and sat down by a spring, all dejection and tears2; she exchanged no word with anybody, save only that she welcomed the queen's maidservants and treated them with great amiability, plaiting their hair for them and imparting to their persons a wondrous fragrance from her own body. But when the queen observed her maidservants, a longing came upon her for the unknown woman and for such hairdressing and for a body fragrant with ambrosia. Thus it happened that Isis was sent for and became so intimate with the queen that the queen made her the nurse of her baby. They say that the king's name was Malcander ; the queens name some say was Astartê, others Saosis, and still others Nemanûs, which the Greeks would call Athenaïs.

1 Cf. Apollodorus, Bibliotheca, ii. 1. 3.

2 Cf. the similar account of Demeter in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter (ii.), 98 ff.

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