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“I told him I had sailed for the great Pharaoh of Egypt. I told him of our ship lost in the storm, and when I had finished, he nodded. He told me Amen-Ra had sent me to this island of the blessed, for that is what he called his island. And then he told me of my future. He said I would remain on his island until four months had passed, and after that a ship would come and carry me to safety. He told me I would die in my own city, that I would rest in the tomb I had prepared.
“And now I tell you the most wondrous part of this adventure. The serpent brought before me his family, 75 serpents in all. Only one stranger before me had ever come to them, a girl who appeared on the island one day in a cloud of fire. But she showed no kindness to the serpents and had no patience. He told me I must have patience and kindness, and that I would be rewarded. The girl without patience had thrown herself into the sea, for she did not trust the serpent’s word. No one ever saw her again.
“I bowed to him, and promised that if all came to pass as he predicted, I would bring his tale to the Pharaoh and speak of his greatness, and I told him I would send a ship to him filled with the riches of Egypt. He laughed. ‘We have all the riches we need here,’ he said, and from that day on, he and his family showed me all manner of kindness. I waited patiently and trusted the serpent’s word, for I knew he spoke with the blessings of Amen-Ra.
“Four months after I arrived, a ship appeared on the horizon. I climbed into a tree to see who sailed, and I saw men of Egypt. I waved farewell to the serpent and again promised him riches.
“‘Return in safety to your home,’ was all he said, and he gave me precious gifts of perfume and incense, kohl and ivory. When I climbed aboard the ship, the island seemed to float away from us. Night fell, and when the moon rose, the island was gone, as if it had never existed.
“We sailed north toward home for many weeks. Now I have come to you, Pharaoh, for I wish to offer you the gifts of the serpent. And I want to tell you that Amen-Ra watches over us all.”
When the sailor finished his tale, the Pharaoh was so moved that he called to his chief scribe and commanded him to set the story down on a roll of papyrus. And so the story of the shipwrecked sailor and the serpent has lasted to this day, though no one ever again saw the island.
Article By: Amy Friedman and Meredith Johnson
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Jamaican Medium Contributing Author