Kish - The Myth of Etana – Tablet 2
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
THE MYTH OF ETANA
Source: Foster, Benjamin
From distant days... Myths, tales and poetry from Ancient Mesopotamia
[ ] which he called [ ]....
the High Water
[ ] he had built a tower (?) [ ]
[ ] shrine for Adad, the god [ ],
In the shade of that shrine a poplar was growing [ ],
In its crown an eagle settled,
A serpent settled at its root.
Daily they watched the wind beasts.
The eagle made ready to speak, saying to the serpent,
"Come, let us make friendship,
Let us be comrades, you and I".
The serpent made ready to speak, saying to the eagle,
"If indeed.... of friendship and [ ]
Then let us swear a mighty oath of Shamash.
An abomination of the gods [ ]
" Come then, let us set forth and go up the high mountain to hunt.
"Let us swear an oath by the netherworld".
Before Shamash the warrior they swore the oath,
"Whoever transgresses the limits of Shamash
" May Shamash deliver him as an offender into the hands of the executioner,
" Whoever transgresses the limits of Shamash,
" May the mountains remove their praises far away from him,
" May the oncoming weapon make straight for him,
" May the trap and curse of Shamash overthrow him and hunt him down!"
After they had sworn the oath by the netherworld,
They set forth, going up the high mountains,
Each day by turns watching for the wild beasts,
The eagle would hunt down wild oxen and gazelle,
The serpent would eat, turn away, then his children would eat.
The eagle would hunt down wild sheep and aurochs,
The serpent would eat, turn away, then his children would eat.
The serpent would hunt down beasts of the field, the creatures of earth,
The eagle would eat, turn away, then his children would eat the food,
The eagle´s children grew big and flourished.
After the eagle´s children were grown big and were flourishing,
The eagle´s heart indeed plotted evil,
Evil his heart plotted indeed!
He set his thoughts upon eating his friend´s young!
The eagle made ready to speak, saying to its children:
" I will eat the serpent´s children, the serpent [ ],
" I will go up and dwell in heaven,
" If I descend from the crown of the tree, ... the king."
The littlest fledgling, exceedingly wise, siad these words to the eagle, his father:
" Do not eat, my father!
The net of Shamash will hunt you down,
The mesh and oat of Shamash will overthrow yu and hunt you down.
Whoever transgresses the limits of Shamash,
Shamash will deliver him as an offender into the hands of the executioner!"
He did not heed them, nor listen to his sons´ words,
He descended and ate up the serpents´ children,
In the evening of the same day,
The serpent came, bearing his burden,
At the entrance to his nest he cast down the meat,
He looked around, his nest was gone"
He looked down, his children were not [ ]!
The eagle had gouged the ground with his talon,
The cloud of dust from the sky darkened the sky.
The serpent.... weeping before Shamash,
Before Shamash the warrior his tears ran down,
" I trusted in you, O warrior Shamash,
" I was the one who gave provisions to the eagle,
" Now my nest [ ]!
" My nest is gone, while his nest is safe,
" My young are destroyed, while his young are safe,
" He descended and ate up my children!
" You know, O Shamash, the evil he has done to me,
" Truly, O Shamash your net is the wide earth,
" Your trap is the distant heaven,
" The eagle must not escape from your net,
" That malignant Anzu who harbored evil against his friends!"
When he had heard the serpent´s lament,
Shamash made ready to speak, and said to him:
" Go your way and cross the mountain,
" I have captured for you a wild ox.
" Open its insides, rend its belly,
" Set an ambush in its belly,
" Every kind of bird of heaven will come down to eat the meat.
" The eagle will come down with them to eat the meat,
" As he will not know the evil in store for him,
" He will search for the juiciest meat [ ], he will walk about outside,
" He will work his way into the covering of the instestines,
" When he comes inside, seize him by his wings,
" Cut off his wings, his pinions and tailfeathers,
" Pluck him and cast him into a bottomless pit,
" Let him die there of hunger and thirst".
As Shamash the warrior commanded,
The serpent went and crossed the mountain.
Then did the serpent reach the wild ox,
He opened its insides, he rent its belly.
He set an ambush in its belly.
Every kind of bird of heaven came down to eat the meat.
Did the eagle know of the evil in store for him?
He would not eat the meat with the other birds!
The eagle made ready to speak, saying to his children:
" Come, let us go down and we too eat the meat of the wild ox".
The little fledgling, exceedingly wise, said these words to the eagle, his father:
" Do not go down, father, no doubt the serpent is lurking inside the wild ox".
The eagle said to himself,
"Are the birds afraid? How is it they eat the meat in peace?"
He did not listen to them, he did not listen to his sons´ words,
He descended and perched on the wild ox.
The eagle looked at the meat, searching in front and behind it.
A second time he looked at the meat, searching in front and behind it,
He walked around outside, he worked his way into the covering of the intestines,
When he came inside, the serpent seized him by his wings,
" You intruded... you intruded...!
The eagle made ready to speak, saying to the serpent:
" Have mercy on me! I will make you such a gift as a king´s ransom!"
The serpent made ready to speak, saying to the eagle:
" If I release you, how shall I answer to Shamash o high?
" Your punishment would turn upon me,
" Me, the one to lay punishment upon you!"
He cut off his wings, pinions and tail feathers,
He plucked him and cast him into a pit.
That he should die there of hunger and thirst.
As for him, the eagle,.....[ ]
He kept on beseeching Shamash day after day:
" Am I to die in a pit?
" Who would know how your punishment was imposed upon me?
" Save my life, the eagle!
Let me cause your name to be heard for all time".
Shamash made ready to speak and said to the eagle:
" You are wicked and have done a revolting deed,
" You committed an abomination of the gods, a forbidden act.
"Were you not under oath? I will not come near you,
"There, there! A man I will send you will help you"
Etana kept on beseeching Shamash day after day.
"O Shamash, you have dined from my fattest sheep!
"O Netherworld, you have drunk of the blood of my sacrificed lambs!
" I have honored the gods and revered the spirits,
" Dream interpreters have used up my incense,
" Gods have used up my lambs in slaughter.
" O Lord, give the command!
" Grant me the plant of birth!
" Reveal to me the plant of birth!
" Relieve me of my burden, grant me an heir!"
Shamash made ready to speak and said to Etana:
" Find a pit, look inside,
" An eagle is cast within it.
" He will reveal to you the plant of birth".
Etana went his way.
He found the pit, he looked inside
The eagle was cast within it
There he was for him to bring up!