A tragic tale of pharaoh sphinx who sacrifices his life to bring rain back to his people.
Much is known by the sphinx. From the creation of this world to the names of every plant in the jungles to the south, we know it. All that has happened in the past, we know, but the contents of the future forever elude us.
Long ago, there was a young Pharaoh. His golden jewelry and crowning circlet shone from a leonine mane of deep blue-purple. His skin and fur were the color of the sands he lived in, and the decorative beard he wore was always in pristine condition. Sabra, for that was his name, lived not in the palace of his choosing, but in the library in an effort to gain more knowledge. He listened to tales on the street as he walked there. His rule was unextraordinary until he learned of the plights of the fishermen.
“The lake declines! The fish run out!” they cried. Sabra heard this and considered this strange occurrence, even as he sat within the confines of the great library.
“Librarian, what has caused the fishermen to worry so? Surely the lake we sit beside cannot noticeably decline so quickly,” he said, the blue-purple tuft at the end of his tail shifting nervously.
“The palace is well provisioned, but there has been a lack of rain in the past months, blessed Pharaoh,” the librarian said. Sabras claws bit into the parchment he had been reading before he could control himself. This could be bad. If the rains did not come, then this desert kingdom was in danger.
For the next year, Sabra instructed his people to collect water and to use it sparingly. When the rains did not come the next year, he urged many to leave and find better grounds for the duration of this drought. As oasis after oasis dried up the year after, Sabra grew worried.
There came a time when the only inhabitant of the palace was the young Pharaoh and his personal keeper. That morning, Sabra woke and adorned none of his jewelry. His beard remained in its protective case. Instead of the careful grooming the keeper expected, Sabra rose and walked the streets of his city.
Everywhere there had been water, the young Pharaoh stopped and knelt. The keeper followed, but it was only at what had been the shore of their prosperous lake did he and the weary crowd hear what Sabra prayed.
“Great Zephyro! Why do you torment my people this way? I would collect even my tears to give the people if my body but had the moisture to spare! Powerful as you are, you have caused the deaths of many of my people. Please! Please, let your wrath fall singularly upon me and spare my people. Let the rains fall again!” Sabra cried out into the empty skies. Instead of just kneeling, the honorable form of the Pharaoh dropped and rolled into the sand that had been the lake’s floor until his coat was as bleak as his prayers. “Zephyro, giver of life and water, spare this land! Send the rains to these brave souls who stayed behind. Azcen made us, but your water sustains us. Please, Zyphyro! Great Zephyro, let your wrath be spent on me, and let your rains come to this land once more!”
For a year, Sabra continued his prayers until his coat no longer shone. He began travelling to the dried up oases to repeat his prayers in every place across his kingdom where water had disappeared. It is said that once Pharaoh Sabra left a place, they gained rainfall within a week. When he returned to Eden, the people were rejoicing in the return of their water, but they did not recognize the sphinx who walked their streets.
Sabra’s wish had been answered. Zephyro had sent rain to the kingdom where he had left it, but the wrath was still there. When the Pharaoh attempted to drink of the refreshing life source, it ran from him. Those who had returned to the palace were distraught, and when Sabra died almost a year later, those in charge claimed the thankfulness in his heart was too much after the rigors of his pilgrimage.
May the gods have mercy on Sabra and his eternal soul. May it shine more brilliant than his coat ever did, and may he experience the refreshment of a cool drink in his afterlife.