In the days before Re had left the earth, before he had begun to grow old, his great wisdom told him that if the goddess Nut bore children, one of them would end his reign among men. So Re laid a curse upon Nut - that she should not be able to bear any child upon any day in the year.
Full of sorrow, Nut went for help to Thoth, the thrice-great god of wisdom and magic and learning, Re's son, who loved her. Thoth knew that the curse of Re, once spoken, could never be recalled, but in his wisdom he found a way of escape. He went to Khonsu, the Moon-god, and challenged him to a contest at draughts. Game after game they played and always Thoth won. The stakes grew higher and higher, but Khonsu wagered the most, for it was some of his own light that he risked and lost.
At last Khonsu would play no more. Then Thoth the thrice-great in wisdom gathered up the light which he had won and made it into five extra days which for ever after were set between the end of the old year and the beginning of the new. The year was of three hundred and sixty days before this, but the five days which were added, which were not days of any year, were ever afterwards held as days of festival in old Egypt.
But, since his match with Thoth, Khonsu the moon has not had enough light to shine throughout the month, but dwindles into darkness and then grows to his full glory again; for he had lost the light needed to make five whole days.
On the first of these days Osiris, the eldest son of Nut, was born, and the second day was set aside to be the birthday of Horus the Elder. On the third day the second son of Nut was born, dark Seth, the lord of evil. On the fourth her daughter Isis first saw the light, and her second daughter Nephthys on the fifth. In this way the curse of Re was both fulfilled and defeated: for the days on which the children of Nut were born belonged to no year.
When Osiris was born many signs and wonders were seen and heard throughout the world. Most notable was the voice which came from the holiest shrine in the temple at Thebes on the Nile, which today is called Karnak, speaking to a man called Pamyles bidding him proclaim to all men that Osiris, the good and mighty king, was born to bring joy to all the earth. Pamyles did as he was bidden, and he also attended on the Divine Child and brought him up as a man among men.
When Osiris was grown up he married his sister Isis, a custom which the Pharaohs of Egypt followed ever after. And Seth married Nephthys: for he too being a god could marry only a goddess.
After Isis by her craft had learned the Secret Name of Re, Osiris became sole ruler of Egypt and reigned on earth as Re had done. He found the people both savage and brutish, fighting among themselves and killing and eating one another. But Isis discovered the grain of both wheat and barley, which grew wild over the land with the other plants and was still unknown to man; and Osiris taught them how to plant the seeds when the Nile had risen in the yearly inundation and sunk again leaving fresh fertile mud over the fields; how to tend and water the crops; how to cut the corn when it was ripe, and how to thresh the grain on the threshing floors, dry it and grind it to flour and make it into bread. He showed them also how to plant vines and make the grapes into wine; and they knew already how to brew beer out of the barley.
When the people of Egypt had learned to make bread and cut only the flesh of such animals as he taught them were suitable, Osiris, went on to teach them laws, and how to live peacefully and happily together, delighting themselves with music and poetry. As soon as Egypt was filled with peace and plenty, Osiris set out over the world to bring his blessings upon other nations. While he was away he left Isis to rule over the land, which she did both wisely and well.......
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