Interview with Hapi
Thoth: This is WEGP, your best source for all breaking news in Ancient Egypt. We apologize for interrupting your regularly scheduled programming of The Old & the Mummified, but the latest has come in from the Nile Delta about the flood... and it's not good. For more, we turn to our senior weatherman, Seth, god of storms.
Seth: Thanks, Thoth. I'm here at Avaris in the Nile Delta, the place where the Mediterranean Sea hits the Egyptian coast—and where the Nile meets salt water. We've been tracking this year's Nile flood, and all predictions have it coming in at far less than anticipated.
Thoth: What does that mean for farmers up and down the Nile, Seth?
Seth: Well, Thoth, it means that fertile soil won't be tossed up onto the riverbanks when the river floods. If that doesn't happen, there won't be enough good soil for the crops to grow out of. If that happens, then the crop yield won't be strong and people might face severe famine.
Thoth: Have you spoken to Hapi, lord of the Nile?
Seth: Good idea, Thoth. As a matter of fact, we have Mr. Nile here, ready for an interview. Hapi, please tell us—why isn't the Nile flooding properly this year?
Hapi: Thanks for having me. I know a lot of you might be angry with me, but I've been going through some hard times lately, so I haven't had the chance to focus on the inundation.
Thoth: What's been going on?
Seth: Is that really important here? I thought we were focusing on Hapi's failure to flood the Nile banks.
Thoth: Let him speak, Seth.
Hapi: Well, for one, I got beaten up last night pretty badly. Do you see that bruise? [gestures at stomach]
Seth: I mean, can you really blame them? You're an overweight blue man with man-boobs.
Thoth: Seth, that's not nice!
Seth: It's true. I mean, how can you be a god of the Nile if you're not sleek and handsome, like me?
Hapi: That's just what my attacker said! Seth, did you have something to do with this, you troublemaker?
Thoth: Gentlemen, settle down. Seth, go home and think about what you've done. Hapi, please continue.
Hapi: Thank you, Thoth! It's also not my fault entirely that the Nile isn't flooding. The pharaoh should make me more offerings.
Thoth: Can you tell us a bit about the workings of the Nile, Hapi?
Hapi: Sure. Near the first cataract of the Nile (a big waterfall), the river emerges from the ground after traveling through the land of the dead and heaven itself, some say. I think that's true, but I'm no scientist. It eventually pops out between two islands: Elephantine and Philae. The inundation starts in June near Elephantine and gets to its height around September at the cities of Heliopolis and Memphis.
Thoth: What's your job in all of this, Hapi?
Hapi: When the Dog Star, Sirius, appears above the horizon at night, the gods know it's inundation time. Three gods—Satet, Anqet, and Khnum—start to measure out the fertile soil and put it in the river. Khnum then gives me the go-ahead to release the flood.
Thoth: How can you know if the Nile's flood is too big or too little? I mean, until after the fact, when it's dry or wet?
Hapi: The humans came up with an ingenious plan. They use Nilometers to measure the depths of the water at different locations along the river. That way, they can know if it's on course to be a good flood or not.
Thoth: And what are you thinking this year? Will we have a good flood?
Hapi: Thoth, you'll all just have to wait and see.
Thoth: Thanks, Hapi. A few questions from some interested viewers out there. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hapi: I'm the god of the Nile, but I also love to have a good time. My best friends are the crocodiles and frog goddesses in my entourage. Together, we splash around the Nile, build Slip N' Slides, and play with the ducks and other animals.
Thoth: You're not afraid of getting nibbled on by crocodiles or hippos?
Hapi: Nah. Sobek, Taweret, and I are old friends.
Thoth: Thanks for your time, Hapi. And now, a return to regularly scheduled programming.