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The Heron and the Turtle


The heron and the turtle

The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature

ETCSL Home Page


SEGMENT A

What do they say in the reed-beds whose growth is good? In the wide reed-beds of Tutub, whose growth is good? In the marshes of Kiritaba, whose growth is good? In the adara thickets of Akcak, whose growth is good? In Enki's interconnecting (?) lagoons, whose growth is good? In the smaller lagoon, Enki's lagoon, whose growth is good? In Enki's barbar reeds, whose growth is good? In the little zi reeds of Urim, whose growth is good? In Urim, where cows and calves abound, whose growth is good?

At that time, the water was drained away from the reeds ......, and they were visible at the sheepfold. The actaltal plant, spreading its seeds from the reed-beds, and the little kumul plants came out of the earth: they are good as little ones. The small enbar reed grooms her hair: it is good as a young maiden. The ubzal reed goes about the city: it is good as a young man. The pela reed is covered from bottom to top: it is a good daughter-in-law. The pela reed turns from bottom to top: it is a good young son. The gacam reed digs in the ground: it is good as an old man. The zi reed ...... on its own: it is good as an old woman. The reed-bed lifts its head beautifully: it is a good Gudea. The ildag tree lifts its head in the irrigation ditch: it is good as a king. ...... with bright branches: it is a good prince.

On that day, beside the reed-beds, someone sitting on the bank prays: "Let me snatch away the heron's eggs, let me take them away ......, so that the gift-bringing bird will not be able to make a gift, so that the gift-bringing heron will not be able make a gift!

It catches fish; it collects eggs and crushes them. It crushes the suhur carp in the honey plants. It crushes the ectub carp in the little zi reeds. It crushes toads in the ligiligi grass. It crushes fish spawn, its offspring, its family. It strikes heron's eggs and smashes them in the sea.

The gift-giving bird made a plea; the heron entered the house of king Enki and spoke to him: "Give me ...... a wide-open place to lay my eggs in." He gave her ......, and did ...... for her. ...... is indeed ......

1 line fragmentary

She laid eggs in the ....... She laid eggs in the wide reed-beds of Tutub. She laid eggs in the marshes of Kiritaba. She laid eggs in the adara thickets of Akcak. She laid eggs in Enki's interconnecting (?) lagoons. She laid eggs in the smaller lagoon, the lagoon of Eridug. She laid eggs in Enki's barbar reeds. She laid eggs in the little zi reeds of Urim. She laid eggs in Urim, where cows and calves abound.

Then the quarrelsome turtle, he of the troublesome way, said: "I am going to pick a quarrel with the heron, the heron! I, the turtle, am going to pick a quarrel with the heron! I, whose eyes are snake's eyes, am going to pick a quarrel! I, whose mouth is a snake's mouth, am going to pick a quarrel! I, whose tongue is a snake's tongue, am going to pick a quarrel! I, whose bite is a puppy's bite, am going to pick a quarrel! With my slender hands and slender feet, I am going to pick a quarrel! I, the turtle -- an oven brick -- am going to pick a quarrel! I, who live in the vegetable gardens, am going to pick a quarrel! I, who like a digging tool spend my time in the mud, am going to pick a quarrel! I, an unwashed refuse-basket, am going to pick a quarrel!"

The turtle, the trapper of birds, the setter of nets, overthrew the heron's construction of reeds for her, turned her nest upside down, and tipped her children into the water. The turtle scratched the dark-eyed bird's forehead with its claws, so that her breast was covered in blood from it. (1 ms. adds the line: ...... in the dust.)

The heron cried out and grew pale: "If I, a bird, ...... my empty nest and ...... 1 ms. adds: I, a heron, ......; I shall take my case up to my king, ......). Let my king judge my case, and give me a verdict! Let Enki judge my case, and give me a verdict! May the lord of Eridug ...... my claim."

A second time, may the gift-bringing bird not be able to make a gift, may the gift-bringing heron not be able to make a gift! It (the turtle) catches fish; it collects eggs and crushes them. It crushes the suhur carp in the honey plants (1 ms. has instead: reed-beds). It crushes the ectub carp in the little zi reeds. It crushes toads in the ligiligi grass. It crushes fish spawn, its offspring, its family.

It dug in the ground, ...... its head upwards....... (1 ms. has instead: The heron ......, .......) She (the heron) 1 ms. adds: entered the house and) cried out to king Enki: "My king, you gave me the wide reed-beds, and I laid eggs there. I laid eggs in the wide reed-beds of Tutub. I laid eggs in the the marshes of Kiritaba. I laid eggs in the adara thickets of Akcak. I laid eggs in Enki's interconnecting (?) lagoons. I laid eggs in the smaller lagoon, the lagoon of Eridug. I laid eggs in Enki's barbar reeds. I laid eggs in the little zi reeds of Urim. I laid eggs in Urim, where cows and calves abound.

"Then the quarrelsome turtle, he of the troublesome way, he whose eyes are snake's eyes, he of the troublesome way, he whose mouth is a snake's mouth, he of the troublesome way, he whose tongue is a snake's tongue, he of the troublesome way, he whose bite is a puppy's bite, he of the troublesome way, he with the slender hands and slender feet, the turtle -- an oven brick -- he of the troublesome way, he who lives in the vegetable gardens, he of the troublesome way, he who like a digging tool spends his time in the mud, he of the troublesome way, an unwashed refuse-basket, he of the troublesome way, the turtle, the trapper of birds, the setter of nets, overthrew my heron's construction of reeds.

"He turned my nest upside down, and tipped my children into the water. The turtle scratched my forehead -- me, the dark-eyed bird -- with its claws, so that my breast was covered with my blood 1 ms. adds: ...... in the water)."

The prince called to his minister, Isimud: "My minister, Isimud, my Sweet Name of Heaven!" "I stand at Enki's service! What is your wish?" "First ...... is filtered on the left (?) side, then a copper box is made, so that ...... is covered. Then you tie ......, and you tie the top with string ......; then you ...... with a piece of dough, and you irrigate the outer enclosure (?); and you put ...... (?) Enki's interconnecting (?) lagoons. Then let him sit ......

1 line missing

1 line fragmentary

Isimud ...... paid attention. First he filtered ...... holy water, then he made a copper box and covered ....... Then he tied the top with string ......; then he ...... with a piece of dough, and he irrigated the outer enclosure (?); and he ...... (?) Enki's interconnecting (?) lagoons. ( Enki speaks:) "Then I, the prince, will make ...... stand ......."

The turtle called to the prince: "You are a prince! She ....... ...... from fire. I am not a god; ......

1 line fragmentary

King Enki ....... You are a prince! She ....... My heart ....... You are a prince! She ...... your word. My little one destroyed a wall ......; she ....... You are a prince! You are ....... ...... brickwork.

16 lines missing

Your flax (?) is single

1 line unclear

Your ...... is single; ....... ...... the hero ....... Your seed is single ....... ...... a tall tree. My strong copper ....... ...... good semen ......

Then, on the ziggurat ....... King Enki was ...... on the ziggurat. The great brickwork of the ziggurat ...... the abzu; the brickwork of the abzu ....... He took dirt from his fingernail and created the dimgi vegetable. He made the dimgi ...... in the ground. Your flax came out of the earth ....... He watered the little ones with his hand; he watered the big ones with his foot. The flax grew large. After the flax had grown tall, after he had bound (?) it ......

1 line fragmentary

6 lines missing

The king .......

1 line fragmentary

1 line missing

3 lines fragmentary

They seized ...... for him. They ...... for him. They confronted (?) ...... in the desert.

1 line unclear

......, they laid out the hunting net. ...... did not catch; he caught in (?) the hunting net, ...... did not catch; he spread out the hunting net.

5 lines fragmentary

...... of Enki

1 line fragmentary

May you be ......; may you be ......; may you be ......; may you be ......

unknown no. of lines missing

SEGMENT B

2 lines fragmentary

...... of Enki. ...... did not catch; ...... the hunting net. The turtle ....... Enki ...... something from his fingernail. Its inside is five ......; its exterior is ten ....... A crevice ......

unknown no. of lines missing


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Main Index

Sumerian Tablets The Isin King List The Sumerian King list The Tablet of Adapa Akkadian Advice Akkadian Precepts A tigi for Bau to Gudea Adab for Bau to Luma The Cursing of Agade Dumuzid's dream Dumuzid and Enkimdu Dumuzid and Geshtin-ana Enki builds the E-engurra Enki and Ninhursag Enki and Ninmah Enki and the World Order Enlil in the E-kur Enlil and Ninlil Enlil and Sud Enmerkar and En-sughgir-ana Enmerkar and Lord Aratta Ereshkigal The Eridu Genesis The Farmer"s instruction Sumerian Flood Story Gilgamesh and Aga Gilgamesh - Bull of Heaven The Deadth of Gilgamesh Gilgamesh and Enkidu Gilgamesh and Huwawa The Heron and the Turtle The History of the Tummal How Grain came to Sumer A tigii to Inana Inana and Bilulu Inana to the Nether world A balbale to Inana - Dumuzid Inana and Ebih Inana and Enki Inana and Iddin-Dagan A Mythic Narrative Inana Inana and Shu-kale-tuda Inscription Umma and Lagash Instructions of Shuruppag The Lament of Eridug The Lament for Nibru The Lament for Sumer - Urim The Lament for Unug The Lament for Ur The Lament for Urim Letter from Ibbi-Suen Lugulbanda The Marriage of Martu Contracts from Mesopotamia Laws from Mesopotamia The Myth of Etana The Myth of Anzu Nanna-Suen's journey to Nibru Building of Ningirsu's temple Ningishzida to the Netherworld A shir-gida to Nininsina Nininsina and the Gods The exploits of Ninurta Ninurta and the Turtle 3 Ox-drivers from Adab Pabilsaj's journey to Nibru Praise Poem of Shulgi Poem of Utu-Hejal Proverbs from Ki-en-gir Rulers of Lagash The Sargon legend The Shumunda grass Return of Ninurta to Nibru Lugulbanda in the Cave The death of Ur-Nammu Praise poem of Ur-Nammu A tigi to Enlil for Ur-Namma THE TEMPLE HYMNS Sumerian Mythology


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