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God at War- The Origin of the Legend

by tope Ogundare  
10/22/2013 / Short Stories

Dagon is fallen

A gasp escaped the mouth of the wizened old man that stood at the threshold of the shrine that housed the philistine god. The man was trembling and he looked around for something to hold on to. He had been the priest of Dagon the powerful since his youthful days, and nothing had prepared him for the sight that was before him now.

He tried to pinch himself, hoping that this was a very vivid nightmare, the kind that happened to one when smitten with the fever. And he had been having the symptoms for the past three days, though it hadn't be so severe as to cause something like this. Maybe old age had robbed him of the resilience he once had, he thought. But alas, this was no dream; this was real, and it was disturbing.

Dagon was fallen to the ground, but if that had been all, it would not have been a problem. Now that he thought about it, what happened yesterday was no coincidence. He had not thought much about it then, but now, it all made sense.

He had come in at dawn like he had in the last thirty years to make the morning sacrifice when he had seen Dagon lying face down on the earth right in front of the ark of covenant, the god of the Israelite that had been captured. He had thought that the lads that had brought in the ark must have knocked it off in their excitement after the victory over the Israelites.

The defeat was a historical one, the stuff of myths and legends. The fearsome ark of the Israelites that had overthrown so many kingdoms in the past was powerless to save them this time around and had been captured too. Maybe the Israelite god had been given too much credit.

The Israelites had actually given so much reverence to their god. The ark was a beauty to behold. It shone so brightly reflecting the sun's brilliance and could not be looked at directly. It would be a prized possession, a worthy gift to Dagon.

Then he had simply put the god back in its place and had had a fleeting thought about how miniature it was compared to the ark of covenant. He had quickly banished the thought from his mind, while sending an appeasing look to Dagon, lest his thoughts be discovered and punished with instant death. He however had not been able to stop these thoughts all through the day- how awesome the ark of covenant was.

Now it dawned on him what had happened. It was a clash of power between the two gods and Dagon had lost. Yesterday had been a preamble, it had simply fallen face down before the Israelite god but today it had been crushed.

Strewn some few feet from where the god was lay its head, turned upward and facing the ceiling. For a few seconds, he thought he caught a look of anguish on its face, and shook his head to clear it. The two hands and feet were scattered across the room as if it was flung in anger, and were in pieces. The only part that remained on the pedestal was the stump. It was a gory sight.

The ark was gleaming brightly as the early morning sun shone on it, and it looked majestic and magnificent.

It would later be written in the annals of history, of the words of the God of the Israelites

"I am God, and besides me there is no other"

And believers in the God of Israel would tell the story in songs:

"Dagon fell before the ark of covenant in days of yore, so shall all my problems fall before him today''

Ogundare Tope, a Psychiatrist in training at the Neuropsychiatric hospital, Abeokuta, Nigeria. Lover of books and music. A writer, poet, musician and physician. blogs at"> contact email:

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