Every culture has their own version of a flood myth, but leave it to the Ancient Egyptians to have a version involving beer!
One day, Ra, lord of the gods, was looking down from his solar barque at Egypt below. The solar barque was Ra’s ship, which he, as the sun god, used to sail through the sky. They called it a solar barque because Ra was like that. He liked to have things a certain way.
That certain way wasn’t cutting it down in Egypt, and Ra wasn’t thrilled. People were partying far too much without inviting him, and, well, Ra didn’t like to be left out even if he was busy riding around in his solar barque. He could have at LEAST gotten an invitation! He didn’t like some of those kinds of parties anyway, but that wasn’t the point, was it? It didn’t help that not many of the other gods got invitations either… those Egyptians weren’t being very respectful to the gods, and as Ra watched them from high above, he got more and more annoyed.
“These people are jerks.” He grumbled. “Someone, go get Hathor, I want to talk to her.”
A few moments later, Hathor walked up to Ra. She was beautiful, the goddess of love and music could be gentle and kind, but she had another side to her as well. That saying, ‘hell hath no fury like a woman scorned’? That applied really well to Hathor, except for the fact that hell was a concept that didn’t come around for at least a thousand years or so. Hathor was also a goddess of rage and vengeance, and NOT someone you wanted to piss off. She was the ultimate vindictive ex-girlfriend.
It was this aspect of Hathor that Ra spoke to. “Hathor,” he said, “Those people down there are jerks. They aren’t inviting us to their parties, and they’re being really mean to me! Look at them! See that guy dressed up as your husband, Horus? See how he’s drunkenly wobbling around? That’s not really very respectful, is it?”
“No, it’s not.” Hathor glared, anger blazing in her eyes.
“They didn’t even make any offerings to us today!” Ra exclaimed.
“Those jerks!” Hathor raged.
“Do me a favour?”
“Of course, Ra.” Hathor nodded.
“Go down and kill them off. I’m sick of them.” Ra grumbled. “They’re jerks.”
Hathor smiled a dark, vengeful and, frankly, terrifying sort of smile as she hopped off the solar barque and went to work. Ra let her do her thing, going in to the barque to chat with Thoth for a while. A few hours later, he came back to the edge of the barque and peered over to see how Hathor was doing.
He paled. He resisted the urge to throw up.
Hathor had taken Ra’s request to heart. Dead bodies littered the streets, blood soaked in to the sand, and people moaned so loudly as they died that their anguished wails were clear even up in the sky where Ra was. Hathor was having fun, singing happily as she murdered everyone she could find – men, women, children, the elderly, no one was safe from her bloodlust. A thought occurred to the lord of the gods – if Hathor was successful in carrying out his request that she kill everyone, there wouldn’t be anyone left to make offerings to him and the rest of the gods! He’d get a lot of grief from the other gods over that…
“Hathor!” Ra called out. “By me, you’re going a bit crazy, aren’t you?”
Hathor giggled and gored another human with the cow-horns on her headdress.
“Enough’s enough… they’ve learned their lesson. Come back and let the rest of them live.” Ra commanded.
“Nah, that’s okay!” Hathor replied cheerfully. “I’m good.”
“You ordered me to kill them all, so I will!” She trampled down an old woman and stomped on her head. “I’m not someone who leaves a job half-done!”
Ra started to look a bit green. It was clear Hathor wasn’t going to listen – she was having too much fun on her murderous rampage.
Ra went back inside the boat and complained to Thoth. Now, Thoth was the wisest of the gods, and as he looked down at Hathor’s bloodlust, he got an idea.
“She’s really in to it.” He noted. “But, we can make her stop, Ra.”
“How? I asked her nicely! I ordered her to stop! She wouldn’t!” Ra complained.
“See how she’s drinking up the blood that runs through the streets?” Thoth asked, pointing at Hathor.
“That’s so disgusting…” Ra looked like he wanted to be sick.
“If we get all of our beer brewers working through the night and we help out a bit, we could make so much beer that we could get Hathor completely wasted.” Thoth pointed out. “If we tint the beer with red ochre and pour it in the streets, she’ll drink that up with just as much enthusiasm as the blood she’s drinking now. Once she gets drunk enough, she’ll forget all about killing everyone.”
“That’s a good idea! Can they make a little bit for us, too?” Ra asked.
“Sure.” Thoth nodded.
So, Thoth sent the order out for all the temples in the land to start brewing as much beer as they possibly could. He sent them ingredients, helped speed up the fermentation a bit, and as Hathor took a bit of a nap when night fell, Thoth had the beer brought to Hathor. Just before she woke up, they tipped the beer jugs over and the streets ran red with ochre-tinted beer.
“Whee!!!” Hathor exclaimed, splashing about in the “blood”. She drank as much of it as she could swallow and, sure enough, before long Hathor was completely sloshed. She stopped killing people.
Once she passed out, Ra brought her back up to the solar barque to sleep it off. She woke up at his feet and groaned, holding her head in agony.
“Feeling okay, Hathor?” Ra asked a little too loudly. He shone the sun a little too brightly.
She moaned painfully. “No…”
“Hmm. That’s too bad…” Ra grinned. “Maybe next time, when I tell you to stop killing off humanity, you’ll actually LISTEN to me.”
Hathor vowed never to cross Ra again. The hangover wasn’t worth it, especially if Ra was going to be such a jerk.