Amon-Re, the most high and beloved god of Egypt, guardian of Luxor and patron of Thebes, repaired to the bank of the Nile to cool his feet in its flow.

The fishes wiggled up to him, kissed him and grew. The water serpents curled about his holy heels, and lengthened. The river turtles glid between his divine ankles, plumpening. Land creatures flocked to him, too, and air. The auroch. The ass. Dragonfly. Raven. Each sipped from the glistening sweats of the just one. Each enlarged himself on this rarest of nectars. Even crocodile, haughty haughty crocodile, humbly rubbed against the god's calf, and as suddenly fattened again by half.

Amon-Re, the wise god, father of Khons, consort of Mut, champion of Karnak, and giver of the sun, noted the surpassing richness of his lifestuff today. Swirling his feet in the cool of the Nile, he caressed at the lifestuff's breadth with his mind; he probed for its worldly loci with his searching physical hands. The god located the lifestuff in his belly. The god judged of its potency.

An eon passed.

Then, Amon-Re, great ram of all, summoned from the river a reed.

Excruciatingly, the reed tore up its roots from the mud. Joyfully, the reed bobbed and toppled onto the river. From the shore then the reed floated. Against the current then the reed swam. Toward Amon-Re the reed struggled. Had it known the god's intentions the reed might have sought him less eagerly. For, plucking the faithful reed from an eddy in the river's flow, the god snapped off its crown of flowers, the god broke off its bloodied roots. Then, Amon-Re, he of the double-plumed headdress, punctured his own belly with the hollow reed and curved its farther end down into the river. The god's lifestuff gushed then from his belly. The god's lifestuff exploded then through the hollow reed, rushing out its broken neck and into the shallows of the Nile. The lifestuff diffused and billowed about the god's feet. Amon-Re reabsorbed his own lifestuff. Amon-Re spewed again his lifestuff through the reed. Amon-Re reabsorbed his own lifestuff. Amon-Re spewed again his lifestuff through the reed.

Amon-Re, great king of the gods, overbrimmed today with his lifestuff. With it he nourished the Nile.

The reed, faceless and alone, died when Amon-Re broke off its bloom. The reed, friendless and unknown, lived again upon piercing the god's belly. The reed begrudged not its precipitate death. Nor did the reed cheer the restoration of its life. The reed fed the Nile because the gracious Amon-Re willed it feed the Nile. Even later, once removed and discarded, the reed lie undismayed and grateful.

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John Dishwasher