Sobek was the crocodile headed god of the Egyptians. He was the force of the Nile, the lord of the soldier, and a fearful being. The ancients called him “he who steals” and “the one with pointed teeth.” But Sobek was also a guardian. It was said that when the Nile was flooded, it was he who would save the ancients from the wrath of the river. For Sobek was the river itself.
Yet there were times when the ancients were wicked and they brought about the hatred of their gods. It was the high priest Imhotep who warned the people of Abu Simbel that a curse was coming and that it would come from the river. No one believed him. No one believed him at all until Tepi went fishing.
Tepi had a small wooden boat, and from it he threw his nets over for a beautiful catch of silver fish. It was a normal day, with the hot sun in the sky, and a weak breeze that moved the papyrus reeds along the banks. But he did notice something that was a bit awry… that there seemed to be an unusually large number of crocodiles on the shore of the river. They weren’t very big and weren’t capable of doing much harm, so Tepi paid no heed to them.
As he was boating however, he felt a strange presence in the Nile. It was as if the water was watching him. As if something was waiting for him, biding its time. The next day Tepi and his boat were nowhere to be found. Several soldiers came looking for him. All they could turn up was a mangled corpse, bloody, torn, and with severed flesh that exposed the skull.
The same result happened with two bathers. When they were washing themselves on the banks of the Nile, the water splashed over them and they vanished. No bodies were found however. The people of Abu Simbel believed that an evil spirit had come upon them. They asked the local governor to solve the problem. In a matter like this the governor was helpless. So, he appealed to Imhotep. The high priest told him that only the people could solve their own problem, for it was they alone who had brought about this curse.
The people then set themselves to sacrificing and praying to their gods, mostly Sobek, whom they had offended the most. All the while people continued to disappear. Sometimes a person would disappear without a trace, other times a disfigured cadaver would turn up. And the Nile had become desolate. No longer did people bathe in its banks or fish in its waters. No longer did they harvest papyrus reeds from its shores. And when the Nile flooded, people backed away from it as if it were a disease that would infect them should they touch it. And they continued to pray to Sobek.
At last, a boy walked to the Nile, immersed in thoughts of play, when he saw something that glistened white in the riverbank. At closer inspection, he saw that it was the sun-bleached skeleton of a crocodile. The corpse or what remained was enormous, almost 30 feet long. The boy ran back and a crowd gathered to see the bones. Imhotep saw it too and pronounced that Sobek was well pleased.
And so, the Nile no longer became a source of evil. People once more flocked to its shores. But every once in a while, a wicked person will disappear from its waters, never to be seen again. And only the wise will know that the Nile sees all that goes on around in its waters, for the Nile has eyes.
Written by Ludovicotechnique