From Gem’s Press
by Gayla Groom
$.99 on Kindle, or free with Kindle Unlimited
See on Amazon.
The religious stories of Sumeria, which probably were the first ever to be written down, not only show up transformed into Bible classics—such as the Creation, the Garden of Eden, the Deluge, the Tower of Babel, Moses’s Birth, and the Ten Commandments — but also form the basis of Egyptian and Greek mythologies.
This little book looks at a few of the lesser known — but still seriously entertaining — Sumerian stories, as well as providing a quick overview of ancient Sumerian civilization.
The fascinating scriptural tale of how Enki created humankind (spoiler: includes the line, “Let my penis be praised”) is a great read. Enki is a troubleshooter, a good-humored mediator, and a compassionate friend to humankind. As the story “Enki and Ninmah” starts, trouble is brewing among the gods:
[T]he senior gods oversaw the work, while the minor gods were bearing the toil. The gods were digging the canals and piling up the silt in Harali. The gods, crushing the clay, began complaining about this life. At that time, the one of great wisdom, the creator of all the senior gods, Enki lay on his bed, not waking up from his sleep, in the deep engur, in the subterranean water, the place the inside of which no other god knows.
The primeval mother, Namma, wakes Enki up and tells him he needs to create a worker to relieve the minor gods. First, he tries delegating….
In the book’s second story, with excerpts from The Epic of Gilgamesh, Utnapishtim tells of the Deluge and of his part in saving humankind and the rewards he reaped. He begins by saying,
In those days the world teemed, the people multiplied, the world bellowed like a wild bull, and the great god was aroused by the clamor. Enlil heard the clamor and he said to the gods in council, ‘The uproar of mankind is intolerable and sleep is no longer possible by reason of the babel .’ So the gods agreed to exterminate mankind. Enlil did this, but Ea warned me in a dream….
In story number three, we dip a toe into the exciting courtship of Ninlil, the mother of Nanna the moon god. Her mother had warned her, “The Great Mountain, Father Enlil — his eye is bright, he will look at you! The shepherd who decides all destinies — his eye is bright, he will look at you! Straight away he will want to have intercourse, he will want to kiss! He will be happy to pour lusty semen into the womb, and then he will leave you to it!” How right she was!
Our fourth story, a look at Enlil and his romantic adventures with the young girl Sud, is also worth a read: “She stood, the object of admiration, like a tall, beautifully shaped cow…. He sees Sud and, overcome by her beauty, decides she will become his wife. She is not impressed….” We won’t spoil the story by describing the courtship, but we will spoil it by saying that she agreed to marry him. When Enlil got the word, he immediately started preparing for the wedding feast. There was…
…great rejoicing in Enlil’s heart. He raised his head, and animals came running. Herds of four-legged animals that graze together in the desert. He caught … living in the mountains, he made wild bulls, red deer, elephants, fallow deer, gazelles, bears, wild sheep and rams, lynxes, foxes, wild cats, tigers, mountain sheep, water buffaloes, monkeys, and thick-horned fat cattle jostle together noisily. Cows and their calves, wild cattle with wide-spread horns, … rope, ….
It goes on. And that was just the meat course!