• The Story of Krt

    The Story of Krt


    This document is an Ugaritic text from Ras Shamra, and may be as old as Abraham. It describes the goings-on among the Canaanites on the coast to the north of Gerar. It is both a ritual and a historical document.


    The subject of the first tablet is the rehabilitation of the royal house after disaster, with the wooing of Krt. The second tablet describes the royal wedding. The third speaks to the illness and threatened eclips of Krt (the ritual king), when his oldest son Ysb takes advantage to seek to supplant him.

    The drama has a definite moral and social object. According to John Gray, "such as the securing of a legitimate queen and the establishment of the royal line."

    In the Krt story the powers of the old king are failing, and he is told by his youthful would-be successor: "In the sepulchral cave thou wild abide... Sickness is as (thy) bedfellow, Disease (thy) concubine."

    It has been proposed that this Krt may have been one (of the two) stories of the abduction of Sarah (the wife of Abraham) by the king of a foriegn land (in this case, King Krt); the story being from King Krt's point of view.["Abraham In Egypt", Nibley F.A.R.M.S., p.354]

    (1.14, col. 1, lines 1-21)
    [Regarding K]ret
    [. . . . . . . . . . . ]
    [. . . ki]ng [. . .]
    [. . . .] El [. . . .]
    [. . . . . . .] river
    The clan [of Kret] died out;
    the house of the [k]ing was destroyed,
    though there were seven [br]others,
    eight sons of a mother.
    Kret, his children wiped out,
    Kret is devoid of an estate.
    He had taken his wife,
    his destined bride.
    He took a wife, but she departed.
    Progeny by a mother had been his:

    1/3 died though healthy,
    1/4 of disease,
    1/5 Reshef carried off,
    1/6 by the Lads of Yamm,
    1/7 fell by the sword.

    (1.14, col. 1, lines 21-35)
    Kret sees his progeny,
    sees his progeny ruined,
    greatly depleted of his power.
    And in its totality a family has died off,
    and in its entirety the succession.
    He enters his room, he weeps.
    While uttering [w]ords, he sheds tears.
    His tears are poured like sheqels on the ground,
    like 1/5-sheqels on the bed.
    As he cries, he falls asleep;
    while he sheds tears—sleep.
    Sleep overcomes him;
    he lies in sleep
    and is startled.

    (1.14, col. 1, lines 35-43)
    And in his dream, El descends,
    in his vision, the Father of Humanity.
    And he draws close, asking Kret,
    "Who is Kret that he should cry
    the Good One, the Lad of El,
    that he should shed tears?
    Does he desire the monarchy of the [B]ull, his father,
    or sovereign[ty] like the Father of Humanity?"

    —approximately 6-7 lines missing—

    (1.14, col. 1, lines 52-)
    ["Why do I need silver,]
    [and yellow gold] together with its place,
    [and] perpetual slaves,
    teams of three [horses],
    chariots from the courtyard of a handmaid’s son?
    [Grant] that I may get [sons];
    [grant] that I may increase [offspr]ing"

    Bull, his Father El, [answers],
    [" . . . . .] while weeping, Kret,
    while shedding tears, O Good One, Lad of El,
    you shall wash
    and redden yourself.
    Wash your [ha]nds (to) the elbow
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