THE ISLAND OF THE SERPENT. By D. R. BENTHAM.
Many years ago The late Dr. Wallis Budge translated this story from the hieratic script of a papyrus roll.
Since then has received the attention of many commentators but, never the
less the Atlantean implications of the ‘narrative appear to have
"I will now speak and give a description of the things that
happened to me when I was. journeying to the copper mines of
the King I went down into the sea in a ship 150 Cubits in
length and 40 Cubits broad, manned by 150 of the best sailors in
Egypt A storm overtook us while at sea and a wave 8
Cubits high struck the ship. I seized a plank driven towards me,
and (eventually) the waves cast me up on an island.
"Here-after having rested and eaten my fill, I was preparing a burnt offering for the gods,
when I heard a sound as of thunder, which I thought to have been caused by a wave of the sea,
and the trees rocked and the earth quaked. The sounds were caused by a great serpent, which came towards me.
It was 80 Cubit. in length, with a head more than 2 Cubits in size.
Its body was covered with scales of pure gold and the ridges ever the the eyes were of pure lapis lazuli.
It coiled its length up before me and said : ‘Who hath brought’ thee hither, Oh miserable one,
Who hath' brought the hither? If thou dust not immediately declare unto me who hath brought thee unto this island.
I will cause thee to be burnt with fire and thou wilt become a thing which is invisible.....
Then the serpent took me in its mouth and carried me of to the place when it was wont to rest and
It set me’ down, saying: ‘Who hath brought thee to this island of the sea?’
"When I had told my story, the serpent said: ‘Have no fear, oh little one.
Verily God hath spared thy life and thou hast been brought to this isle of the blest.
Verily thou shalt pass four months on this island and then a ship will come,
on which thou shalt go to thy native country, and thou shalt die in thy home town.’
"The serpent continued: ‘I used to live here with my brethren and my children who together numbered seventy-five.
I do not make mention of a maiden brought to me by fate.
And a star fell from heaven and all of them were burnt in the fire which fell with it,
I was not amongst those who were burnt in the fire but I well nigh died of grief for them.’.. -
The serpent smiled at me and said: ‘Behold, I am the Prince of Punt, and it shall come to pass that when thou hast departed from this place, thou shalt never more see this island, for it shall vanish beneath the waves'
"And in due course, as predicted, a ship arrived, and the serpent said: · A safe journey, oh little one, to thy house. I
beseech thee that my name be held in fair repute in thy land, for verily .the thing this is which I desire of thee’... We arrived there at the end of two months and I entered into the presence of the king. And the king praised me and appointed me one of his bodyguard."
This legend with it
the elements of several myths and is linked to those of Yamilka and Gilgamish,
and with certain
of the Arabian Nights. The Serpent king, the Prince of Punt, may well have been on offshoot of the Egyptian Royal Family.
The falling star recalls Boneff, Bellamy, and Velikovsky. The mysterious island may well be that of Calypso, mentioned by
Homer some 3,000 years later. The papyrus is in the Leningrad Museum and has frequently been translated.
Duality of Hercules, By D. R. Bentham