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Letter from Aba-indasa to Shulgi about his neglect: translation

1-8Say to my lord, and repeat to my kid of the mountains, with beautiful horns; to my horse of the mountains, with an eagle's claws; my date-palm, growing on untouched ground and with fresh (?) dates hanging from it: this is what the captain of pledged troops (2 mss. have instead: soldiers), Aba-indasa -- who, by means of prayers for his king, greatly pleases his king's heart -- your servant, says:

9-10You are mighty, my lord; I will follow you (1 ms. has instead: let me be your soldier)! Let me be the courier of your business (1 ms. has instead: I will stand (?) before him attentively)!

11-13When a boat is available, I will steer (?) with the rudder; when water is available (1 ms. has instead: when a father is available), I will plunge in; (2 mss. add: when a son is available, I will thresh (?);) (1 ms. adds: ...... I will make ...... shiny; ) when wind is available, I will winnow (1 ms. has instead: I will ...... ) .

14-15I am a scribe and I write on stelae. (2 ms. add: ...... business concerning the troops. ) I will ...... business which has been neglected in the assembly, when it ....... (1 ms. adds: ...... business which makes good ...... equal. )

16-19But like a tree planted in riverine thickets, I am bowed down in dirt. They have bound a rope around my hands, on my chair where they have tied me. In my city, where I would wear clean clothes, I am clothed instead in mourning dress. When I wash away clods of soil, dust still gets into my eyes.

20-23Dogs devour corpses, lifting their chests. When dragons kill, what is left from their mouths is put aside. Fire consumes reed-beds even though they have waterways. Utu, who eats butter, who eats cream, nevertheless touches the table of the poor. (1 ms. adds: Grant me my life and hold my hands! I am a son of a widow, and I have no one to take care of me. )

24As for me, when will the heart of Culgi, my lord, be restored to me? (1 ms. adds: May my lord attend to me and restore me to my mother. )

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Revision history

2.iv.2001-5.iv.2001 : EFH : adapting translation
9.viii.2001 : JAB : proofreading
12.viii.2001 : GZ : SGML tagging
21.ix.2001 : ER : Proofreading SGML
28.ix.2001 : ER : converting to HTML 4.0