The Huluppu Tree

This version is taken from Diane Wolkstein's book in Inanna

In the first days, in the very first days, In the first nights, in the very first nights, In the first years, in the very first years,

In the first days when everthing needed was bought into being, In the first days when everything needed was properly nourished, when bread was baked in the shrines of the land, And bread was tasted in the homes of the land, When heaven had moved away from earth, And earth was separated from heaven, And the name of man was fixed; When the Sky god, An, had carried off the heavens, And the Air God, Enlil, had carried off the earth, When the Queen of the Great Below, Erishkigal, was given the underworld for her domain,

He set sail; the Father set sail, Enki, the God of Wisdom, set sail for the underworld. Small windstones were tossed up against him; Large hailstones were hurled up against him; Like on rushing turtles, They charged the keel of Enki's boat. The waters of the sea devoured the bow of his boat like wolves; The waters of the sea struck the stern of his boat like lions.

At that time, a tree, a single tree, a huluppu tree Was planted by the banks of the Euphrates. The tree was nurtured by the waters of the Euphrates. The whirling South Wind rose, pulling at its roots And ripping at its branches Until the waters of the Euphrates carried it away.

A woman who walked in fear of the word of the Sky God, An, Who walked in fear of the word of the Air God, Enlil, Plucked the tree from the river and spoke: "I shall bring this tree to Uruk. I shall plant this tree in my holy garden." Inanna cared for the tree with her hand. She settled the earth around the tree with her foot. She wondered: "How long will it be until I have a shining throne to sit upon? How long will it be until I have a shining bed to lie on?"

The years passed; five years, then ten years. The tree grew thick, But its bark did not split. Then a serpent who could not be charmed Made its nest int he roots of the huluppu tree. The Anzu bird set his young in the branches of the tree. And the dark maid Lilith built her home in the trunk. The young woman who loved to laugh wept. How Inanna wept! Yet they would not leave her tree.

As the birds began to sing at the coming of the dawn, the Sun God, Utu, left his royal bedchamber. Inanna called to her brother saying: "O, Utu, in the days when the fates were decreed, When abundance overflowed the land, When the Sky God took the heavens and the Air God the Earth, When Erishkigal was given the Great Below for her domain, The God Of Wisom, Father Enki, set sail for the underworld, And the underworl rose up and attacked himů.

At that time, a tree, a single tree, a huluppu tree Was planted by the banks of the Euphrates. The South Wind pulled at its roots and ripped at its branches Until the waters of the Euphrates carried it away. I plucked the tree from the river; I brought it to my holy garden. I tended the tree waiting for my holy shrine and bed.

Then a serpent who could not be charmed Made its nest int he roots of the tree, The Anzu bird set his young in the branches of the tree, And the dark maid Lilith built her home in the trrunk. I wept. How I wept! Yet they would not leave my tree.

Utu, the valiant warrior, Utu, Would not help his sister, Inanna.

As the birds began to sing at the coming of the second dawn, Inanna called to her brother Gilgamesh, saying; "O, Gilgamesh, in the days when the fates were decreed, when abundance overflowed in Sumer, When the Sky God had taken the heavens and the Air God the earth, When Erishkigal was given the Great Below for her domain, The God of Wisdom, Father Enki, set sail for the underworld, And the underworld rose up and attacked him. At that time, a tree, a single tree, a huluppu tree Was planted by the banks of the Euphrates. The South Wind pulled at its roots and ripped at its branches Until the waters of the Euphrates carried it away. I plucked the tree form the river; I borought it to my holy garden. I tended the tree, waiting for my shining throne and bed.

Then a serpent who could not be charmed Made its nest int he roots of the tree, The Anzu bird set his young in the branches of the tree, And the dark maid Lilith built her home in the trrunk. I wept. How I wept! Yet they would not leave my tree.

Gilgamesh, the valiant warrior, Gilgamesh, The hero of Uruk, stood by Inanna. Gilgamesh fastened his armour of 50 minas around his chest. The 50 minas weighed as little to him as 50 feathers. He lifted his bronze axe, the ax of the road, Weighing 7 talents and 7 minas, to his shoulder. He entered Inanna's holy garden.

Gilgamesh struck the serpent who could not be charmed. The Anzu bird flew with his young to the mountains; And Lilith smashed her home and fled to the wild, uninhabited places. Gilgamesh then loosened the roots of the huluppu tree; And the sons of the city, who accompanied him, cut of the branches.

From the trunk of the tree he carved a throne for his holy sister. From the trunk of the tree Gilgamesh carved a bed for Inanna. From the roots of the tree she fashioned a pukku for her brother. From the crown of the tree Inanna fashioned a mikku for Gilgamesh, the hero of Uruk.