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The šumunda grass

1. The abba instructed, the abba instructed:

2-13. When the rain rained, when walls were demolished, when it rained potsherds and fireballs, when one person confronted another defiantly, when there was copulation -- he also copulated, when there was kissing -- he also kissed. When the rain said: "I will rain," when the wall said: "I will rain (scribal error for 'demolish' ?)", when the flood said: "I will sweep everything away" -- Heaven impregnated (?), Earth gave birth, she gave birth also to the šumunda grass. Earth gave birth, Heaven impregnated (?), she gave birth also to the šumunda grass.

14-21. His luxuriant reeds carry fire. They who defied it, who defied it, the umma who had survived that day, the abba who had survived that day, the chief gala priest who had survived that year, whoever had survived the Flood -- the šumunda grass crushed them with labour, crushed them with labour, made them crouch in the dust.

22-28. The šumunda grass is a fire carrier, he cannot be tied into bundles, the grass cannot be shifted, the grass cannot be loosened, the grass cannot be loosened. When built into a booth, one moment he stands up, one moment he lies down. Having kindled a fire, he spreads it wide. The šumunda grass's habitat is among his bitter waters. He butts about (saying): "I will start, I will start a fire."

29-34. He set fire to the base of the E-ana; there he was bound, there he was fettered. When he protested, Inana seized a raven there and set it on top of him. The shepherd abandoned his sheep in their enclosure. Inana seized the raven there.

35-49. When the rain had rained, when walls had been demolished, when it rained potsherds and fireballs, when Dumuzid was defied -- the rain rained, walls were demolished, the cowpen was demolished, the sheepfold was ripped out, wild flood-waters were hurled against the rivers, wild rains were hurled against the marshes. By (?) the …… of the Tigris and the Euphrates, of the Tigris and the Euphrates, long grass grew, long grass …….
5 lines missing

50-59. He tied him into bundles, he shifted him, he …… šumunda grass, the fire-carrier. He bundled up the šumunda grass, the fire carrier, bundled up the fire carrier. The launderer who made her garments clean asks her, Inana -- the carpenter who gave her the spindle to hold in her hand (asks her), Inana -- the potter who fashioned pots and jugs (asks her), Inana. The potter gave her holy drinking vessels, the shepherd brought her his sheep, the shepherd brought her his sheep -- he asks her. He brought her all kinds of luxuriant plants, as if it were the harvest.

60-66. Her voice reached Heaven, her voice reached Earth, her resounding cry covered the horizon like a garment, was spread over it like a cloth, she hurled fierce winds at the head of the šumunda grass (saying): "Šumunda grass, your name ……. You shall be a plant ……. You shall be a hateful plant ……. Your name ……."
approx. 23 lines missing

Revision history

13.i.1998-23.i.1998: JAB, editor: adapting translation
31.i.1998: GZ, editor: proofreading
13.vii.1999: GZ, editor: minor corrections
13.vii.1999: GZ, editor: SGML tagging
31.vii.1999: ER, editor: proofreading SGML
31.vii.1999: ER, editor: web publication GC/JE, editor/technical developer: XML/TEI conversion

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