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1001 Stories Collection

The Story of Ra and Isis

1001 The Story Of Ra And Isis Tyler B
Added on 06th October 2020

Oral tradition Myth from Ancient Egypt

Middle East Myths and legends

An Egyptian myth telling how Isis poisons Ra to get what she wants.


The Egyptian goddess Isis wants something from the sun god Ra, so she creates a magical serpent out of the dust and Ra’s spittle. She hides the snake by a well-walked path where it bites and poisons Ra. Even though he has great power, Ra cannot cure himself because the snake has been made from his own spit. Isis arrives and promises to cure him, only if he reveals his true name, which will give her equal power.

Why we chose it

One of the best known of the Egyptian myths. Ancient Egypt was a popular topic in primary schools for many years and children enjoy the drama of the myths.

Where it came from

This story is part of the Ancient Egyptian mythology - stories of gods and goddesses. These will have been told to each generation and even used in temple worship to specific gods. Several manuscripts also show it was used as a healing incantation to remove poison from a patient.

Where it went next

The story changed as the Egyptian mythology of the gods developed. For example, Isis’ reason for poisoning Ra is sometimes because Ra (the sun) is too close to the earth and burning people up, so she tricks him to help others. In another version, Isis poisons him to get the power needed to either make her husband, Osiris, king of Egypt, or to miraculously give birth to her son Horus.

Associated stories

There are many myths about the Egyptian gods and goddesses which both Ra and Isis appear in. One of the most famous is Isis’ family drama. In one form of the story, her husband, Osiris, is murdered by his brother Seth and cut up into fourteen pieces. Isis recovers thirteen of the pieces and Osiris is resurrected, reigning over the world of the dead. Their son, Horus, will one day kill the evil Seth.

Added on 06th October 2020

Oral tradition Myth from Ancient Egypt

Middle East Myths and legends