|Making praise before the Lady Hekhet and kissing the ground at her feet, because I was brought to one of her holy houses. There I was an obedient child, diligent to carry out every word that was spoken to me. Every day I was quick to do the will of the ladies who had charge over me, so that they blessed me and commended my name.|
Iadet-en-Tefnut finished the morning devotion at the holy place of Hekhet. The inundation had just started to come up. Today the water was lapping on the edge of the river track. Tomorrow it would be over the rough stones and part-way across the stretch of open ground in front of the entrance gates.
A few days more, and the temple would be cut off on its little island for a time. The dock gate on the north side would be the only means in or out of the place until the water subsided again. While the river was in flood, the women devoted to Hekhet here would recreate, in word and dance, the time before time when the dry land first arose from the waters of creation.
It was a good time of year, when Iadet could feel the ancient roots of her womanhood gripping securely onto the foundations of the Beloved Land itself. The whole land was passing through its own colossal version of her monthly cycle, with the gush of water first overflowing its everyday bounds and then subsiding again to leave fertility in its wake. She sighed, feeling deep inside her again the tug of her own desires. Once again, she suspected, the fields on either side of the rising river would have to grow seed for her.
She left the shrine area, taking five steps backwards still facing towards the altar and its little oil lamp before turning away towards the refectory. She was hungry now, and quite ready to break her fast. As she crossed the pillared central court, she heard a voice calling out at the side gate. No-one else was nearby, so she went and opened the gate herself.
Two people were standing outside, slaves from one of the nearby households, she thought, with a very young boy standing between them, holding the woman’s hand. The woman was carrying a small bundle of clothes, the rather older man held a small bag. She looked enquiringly at them. They both bowed, recognising her rank, then the man spoke.
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