Sobek was the first god we wrote about with Mummific. This crocodile god had first appeared in a text when we wrote about King Crocodile.
I found out Mummific had a soft spot for this particular god, when I noticed some odd decorations at the corner of our kitchen. Now our cats have plenty of toys, so I am used to seeing bright spots of color from the corner of my eye, and don’t even have to look down to avoid stepping on toy mice, balls, feather sticks, on several non-toy objects that are small enough for the cats to play hockey with…
That’s why I did not pay much attention to something green that appeared one night in the corner of the kitchen. I simply walked there the following morning, reading a book about Egyptology while I dug out orange juice out of the fridge. If you have ever immersed yourself in a good book, and don’t want to put it down, you know what I was doing.
Still, later in the day, again out of the corner of my eye, I noticed one of our cats was sitting by the water bowl, staring at the water with a rather puzzled look. I thought I’d better change the water (I do change it daily, but cats like to paw the surface of the water before they drink – probably to see the surface better – and if they have kitty litter on their paws, it sinks into the bowl). When I bent down to take the cup, I noticed the cat’s reaction had nothing to do with the water itself.
Sigh. I should have known there was Mummific intervention...
“MummiFIC!” I shouted, making a mental note my neighbours probably would soon start talking about me behind my back if I did not learn to keep my voice down.
There was a slight thumping sound when Mummific hopped down from his chair in the study, and then a quiet pat-pat-pat of his linen-wrapped feet. I stared at the scene in and around the bowl, my hands around it, ready for Mummific’s unbelievable explanations. (Well, that’s what his stories usually sound like, as he looks at life in today’s world with the mindset of someone who lilved thousands of years ago. On top of that I am quite certain he is somehow connected to the family tree of Baron von Munchausen…)
Instead of a story I heard a raspy scream and surprisingly strong mummified hands wrapped around my wrists so that water splashed on my feet and on the cat, who voiced a howly objection and scooted off the kitchen, leaving a trail of water behind. It was like a scene from a Boris Karloff movie. Only the heroine attacked by a mummy probably did not need to wipe the floor dry after a wet cat afterwards.
“No, no!” Mummific yelled, “Do not touch the sacred lake!”
“The what?” I placed the bowl down and took off my wet socks, “What was that all about? Just look at my socks!”
Mummific paid no attention to me. Still, he had learned from his previous encounter with water (and hair-dryer) and did not step on the splashed water. He backed up a few steps and then went on his knees on the floor. This was a precarious movement and I listened to the cracks and creaks coming from his knees with great concern.
Well, his legs did not fall off, thankfully. Just as I let out a sigh of relief he flopped himself on his stomach to the ground, which action resulted in a definite cloud of dust that made another one of my cats sneeze loudly. When the dust cleared, I bent closer to see whether Mr Mummific had fallen to pieces. Obviously not, as I heard him mumbling something. Maybe his last words?
But no. He just lay there with his dry hands reaching towards the cat bowl and the plastic crocodile he had placed there together with our crocodile-shaped salad tweezers. Behind the water bowl sat a toy crocodile, also wrapped in jewelry.
“Oh mighty Sobek, protect us from evil…” Mummific’s voce rose from the floor, “You may take your revenge on the lady who tried to steal your lake, though, if you deem it necessary. Take into consideration she is ignorant of the old ways…”
To me it didn’t look likely the plush toy crocodile would pose a horrific threat to my life and health. Still, I could not simply take the toys away, knowing Mummific. I needed him to tell me about Sobek, and not feel insulted and disappear to the afterlife again. Sometimes it is hard to talk with someone who is from a complete different era. I mean you all have talked with old people who tell you about people and music and happenings that you have no connection to, because you are much younger. Imagine that times a thousand, and you know the problems I had with Mummific. And top that with his royal ego… He considered himself the ruler, and me the subject. Also it wasn’t exactly easy on him either, when he had no idea about the of way life in our modern times.
“Here’s my suggestion,” I finally said, “We place him in a more dignified place. It is not exactly proper that a mighty god sits on the floor or is placed in an animal drinking bowl, even if the idea of providing him with an ancient lake is laudable, and probably much respected by Sobek himself.”
Mummific collected his bones and rose with considerable dusty huffing and puffing and crackling back to a standing position.
“You might be right. He did have proper temples in ancient Kemet also, with respectable niches, and his own personnel. Quite discraceful he is no longer respected,” Mummific said, bowed at Sobek and stole a sideways glance at me (very carefully, as not to pop out his eyes). I stared elsewhere, pretending not to notice. I did not intend to bow to a stuffed toy crocodile.
I picked up the plastic crocodile and the salad tweezers from the bowl. Mummific snatched the stuffed toy crocodile from me, carrying it reverently in front of him with outstretched arms. Then he turned to look at me impatiently.
I had to figure out quickly where to place mighty toy Sobek. I saw an old glass jar in the corner – it had a sea shell I had bought at a food market in Barcelona on our honeymoon, and another, exotic looking sea shell I had bought from an antique shop as a child. These were on top of smooth white stones from a sea shore in Greece. Also included was a flattened glass bottle of green color – Mummific loved glass objects. Perfect. We placed everything in the jar, which I then lifted on top of a cupboard. I made a mental note where part of my necklaces were now in storage.
Mummific seemed happy with the arrangement and observed the newly crated shrine with contentment.
“You seem to like this god,” I commented.
“Oh yes,” Mummific said enthusiastically, “He repaired my body in the afterlife. I did have some damage to my body, and Sobek is the one who makes such bodies whole again. And he protected me from dark magic when I was king. And was the patron of my royal army.”
“Really? Is that why some kings had Sobek as part of their names?” I asked.
“But of course,” Mummific said.
“Right… Well, now that we have arranged Sobek a place of his own, we might go and write more about him. Would that be ok?”
“Very well,” Mummif said, “It seems Sobek does not carry any grudge against you for trying to steal his lake, but you would be wise to appease him by telling the people of your time about his importance.”
Well, it can’t be denied Sobek was indeed an important god for the ancient Egyptians. You may read some facts about him by clicking on the link at the end of this page.
As far as I am concerned, I consider I have done my duty towards the mighty crocodile god. I hope the plush crocodile won’t take offense at my disrespectful modern behavior, climb out of its glass temple, and try to take revenge on me.