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The insidious scheming and usurpation of Typhon, then, is the power of drought, which gains control and dissipates the moisture which is the source of the Nile and of its rising ; and his coadjutor, the Queen of the Ethiopians,1 signifies allegorically the south winds from Ethiopia ; for whenever these gain the upper hand over the northerly or Etesian winds2 which drive the clouds towards Ethiopia, and when they prevent the falling of the rains which cause the rising of the Nile, then Typhon, being in possession, blazes with scorching heat ; and having gained complete mastery, he forces the Nile in retreat to draw back its waters for weakness, and, flowing at the bottom of its almost empty channel, to proceed to the sea. The story told of the shutting up of Osiris in the chest seems to mean nothing else than the vanishing and disappearance of water. Consequently they say that the disappearance of Osiris occurred in the month of Athyr,3 at the time when, owing to the complete cessation of the Etesian winds, the Nile recedes to its low level and the land becomes denuded. As the nights grow longer, the darkness increases, and the potency of the light is abated and subdued. Then among the gloomy rites which the priests perform, they shroud the gilded image of a cow with a black linen vestment, and display her as a sign of mourning for the goddess, inasmuch as they regard both the cow and the earth4 [p. 97] as the image of Isis ; and this is kept up for four days consecutively, beginning with the seventeenth of the month. The things mourned for are four in number : first, the departure and recession of the Nile ; second, the complete extinction of the north winds, as the south winds gain the upper hand ; third, the day's growing shorter than the night; and, to crown all, the denudation of the earth together with the defoliation of the trees and shrubs at this time. On the nineteenth day they go down to the sea at nighttime ; and the keepers of the robes and the priests bring forth the sacred chest containing a small golden coffer, into which they pour some potable water which they have taken up, and a great shout arises from the company for joy that Osiris is found. Then they knead some fertile soil with the water and mix in spices and incense of a very costly sort, and fashion therefrom a crescent-shaped figure, which they clothe and adorn, thus indicating that they regard these gods as the substance of Earth and Water.

1 Cf. 356 b, supra.

2 Cf. Moralia, 898 a, and Diodorus, i. 39.

3 The month of November.

4 Cf. 366 a supra.

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