Thursday, March 29, 2012

(Another) Flood Story, Part 1: The Warning

You know the city Shurrupak on the banks of Euphrates? Well, the city had grown old and its gods were old, too. And they were crotchety.

There was Anu, the god of the firmament, so he didn't really have much to do. Ninurta was the god of war and wells, because wars and wells just go together. Then there was Enlil, the god of earth, wind, and air. Enlil was kind of an asshole. There was also Ennugi, the god of irrigation (but not wells).

Finally, there was Ea, the god of wisdom and crafts. Ea may have been good at "crafts" (he made the best reed wallets and mud ashtrays), but Ea was even better at "crafty."

Back then the world was covered with people. They had multiplied and multiplied. And the noise! The whole world bellowed like a wild bull kicked in the nuts. And all that noise was getting to the old, crotchety gods. Enlil in particular had had enough, so he decided to take it up with the other gods, "The roar of mankind is un-fucking-believable! Can any of you sleep with that constant babbling going on?" The other gods did agree it was pretty hard to get any sleep.

So the gods decided to wipe out mankind. They chose worldwide flood, of course. Worldwide floods are "Wipe Out Mankind 101" back at god school.
Now Ea - the crafty one - kind of liked me. For one thing, I made a hell of a sweet burnt sacrifice. Gods are suckers for the sweet aroma of dead shit on fire. So Ea liked me enough that he wished to warn me about the whole wiping out mankind thing. But, along with the other gods, Ea had been sworn to secrecy by Enlil.

So Ea came up with a loophole, "I swore to not tell a single soul. I never said I wouldn't tell a single thing. Therefore, I shall not warn Utnapishtim, but I shall warn Utnapishtim's house."

Then, while I was dreaming, Ea whispered to my house of reeds, "Reed-house, reed-house! I'm talking to you, reed-house! That's right, it's just me, Ea, talking to a read-house. If I happen to be so loud that someone hears, that's not my problem, is it now, reed-house?

"Listen, Utnapishtim...may I call you Utnapishtim, reed-house? Good. Utnapishtim of Shurrupak, tear down your...uh...your house and build a boat. You're not going to need this house or any other worldly goods. You might prefer being alive. Just sayin'.

"Tear down your house, Utnapishtim, and build a boat. Make it 180 feet high with six decks and one acre of floor space. Load the boat with food for every living creature ever."

Yes, Gilgamesh, I had one fuck of a big house.