The Eridu Genesis
From "The Harps That Once...: Sumerian Poetry in Translation" by Thorkild Jacobsen. Yale University Press, Publishers.
Nintur was paying attention:
Let me bethink myself of my humankind, all forgotten as they are; and mindful of mine, Nintur's creatures let me bring them back let me lead the people back from their trails.May they come and build cities and cult places, that I may cool myself in their shade; may they lay the bricks for the cult cities in pure spots and may they found places for divination in pure spots!
She gave directions for purification and cries for elemency, the things that cool divine wrath, perfected the divine service and the august offices, said to the surrounding regions: "Let me institute peace there!"
When An, Enlil, Enki and Ninhursaga fashioned the dark-headed people they had made the small animals that come up from out of the earth, come from the earth in abundance and had let there be, as it befits it, gazelles wild donkeys, and four-footed beasts in the desert.......and let me have him advise; let me have him oversee their labor, and let him teach the nation to follow along unerringly like cattle!
When the royal scepter was coming down from heaven, the august crown and the royal throne being already down from heaven, he (the king) regularly performed to perfection the august divine services and offices, laid the bricks of those cities in pure spots. They were named by name and allotted half-bushel baskets.
The firstling of those cities, Eridu, she gave to the leader Nudimmud, the second, Bad-Tibira, she gave to the prince and the sacred one, the third, Larak, she gave to Pabilsag, the fourth, Sippar, she gave to the gallant Utu. The fifth, Shuruppak, she gave to Ansud.
These cities, which had been named by names, and had been allotted half-bushel baskets, dredged the canals, which were blocked with purplish wind-borne clay, and they carried water. Their cleaning of the smaller canals established abundant growth.
[lost account of the antediluvian rulers, and how human noise vexed the chief god Enlil so much that he persuaded the divine assembly to vote the destruction of man by the deluge] ..
That day Nintur wept over her creatures and holy Inanna was full of grief over their people; but Enki took counsel with his own heart. An, Enlil, Enki, and Ninhursaga had the gods of heaven and earth swear by the names of An and Enlil.
At that time, Ziusudra was king and lustration priest. He fashioned, being a seer, the god of giddiness and stood in awe beside it, wording his wishes humbly.
As he stood there regularly day after day something that was not a dream was appearing: conversation a swearing of oaths by heaven and earth, a touching of throats and the gods bringing their thwarts up to Kiur.
And as Ziusudra stood there beside it, he went on hearing:
"Step up to the wall to my left and listen! Let me speak a word to you at the wall and may you grasp what I say, may you heed my advice! By our hand a flood will sweep over the cities of the half-bushel baskets, and the country; the decision, that mankind is to be destroyed has been made".
A verdict, a command of the assembly cannot be revoked, an order of An and Enlil is not known ever to have been countermanded, their kingship, their term, has been uprooted they must bethink themselves of that. Now... What I have to say to you...
[lost account of Enki's advice to build a boat and load it with pairs of living things, and Ziusudra's compliance]
All the evil winds, all stormy winds gathered into one and with them, then, the flood was sweeping over the cities of the half-bushel baskets for seven days and seven nights. After the flood had swept over the country, after the evil wind had tossed the big boat about on the great waters, the sun came out spreading light over heaven and earth.
Ziusudra then drilled an opening in the big boat.
And the gallant Utu sent his light into the interior of the big boat. Ziusudra, being king, stepped up before Utu kissing the ground before him. The king was butchering oxen, was being lavish with the sheep Barley cakes, crescents together with......he was crumbling for him juniper, the pure plant of the mountains, he filled on the fire and with a ...clasped to the breast he...
[lost account of Enlil's wrath at finding survivor's and his mollification by Enki]You here have sworn by the life's breath of heaven the life's breath of earth that he verily is allied with yourself; you there, An and Enlil, have sworn by the life's breath of heaven, the life's breath of earth. that he is allied with all of you. He will disembark the small animals that come up from the earth!
Ziusudra, being king, stepped up before An and Enlil kissing the ground. And An and Enlil after honoring him were granting him life like a god's, were making lasting breath of life, like a god's, descend into him. That day they made Ziusudra, preserver, as king, of the name of the small animals and the seed of mankind, live toward the east over the mountains in mount Dilmun.