tagSci-Fi & FantasyDivine Feud

Divine Feud


The Nameless God

Tablet I

[...g]od of the desert, and no one would go to the desert to be with him.
He sat upon a mountain with his massive head in his massive hands,
and sighed.

Tablet II

He was angry at the other gods because they would not include him in their councils,
nor when they hunted for wild beasts in the fields,
nor when they threw great feasts and rejoiced with sweet-smelling meat
and wine that caused the heart to [...]
He saw how they made creatures,
each god adding [...],
even making people and giving them fire to worship and honor them.
He too attempted to make creatures,
spitting into the dust at his feet,
and fashioning the mud into [various] shapes,
and setting it out to dry in the noonday sun;
but when he blew life into their nostrils,
they were ugly and weak and died [quickly].

This caused him great sadness;
his eyes filled with tears and his arms went limp,
and he wished for a friend to hear his troubles.
He said:
     I long for a friend to listen to my troubles;
     I want a companion to speak through my nights.
     He will avenge me against my enemies,
     Together we shall destroy those who have [dealt me] cruel blows.
     As the sun and the moon share the skies,
     So shall we share the desert.
     I shall never leave him,
     And he will be forever at my side.
     Where is my friend who will listen to my troubles?
     Where are companions to speak through my [nights]?
He wished for a friend, and his wishes grew hard
and his stomach began to ache and grumble.
Little [by little] the aches grew wilder, and his belly began to grow.
After many days [his belly] was as large as a cow's before childbirth,
like a cedar ship weighed down with gold and wheat,
like a cart loaded with heavy stones from the quarries[?].
The pain was so great he desired to cut his stomach open [so the pain would go away].
So he took a stone from his mountain,
a sharp and mighty rock as large as a house,
and chipped it against the mountain side,
and the land trembled,
and the air was filled with deafening sounds,
until the stone's edge became very sharp.
Then he slit his belly open with the stone,
and out fell a [baby] boy who began to cry.
He picked the wailing child up in his hands,
and raised him into the air, saying:
     Now i have a child, and a friend!
     Now [...] avenge [...]
     [Several lines are missing.]

Tablet III

[...] boy grew up,
like a strong and mighty beast of the mountains,
jumping from stone to stone in the day
and sleeping naked in the cool air at night.
His hair was disheveled and no one did cut or comb it;
his muscles were [larger than] those of a bull,
his hands powerful and dirty,
like the claws of a lion at a watering hole
and the [muddy] hide of a [hip]popotamous.
The god without a name taught his son [?],
and he taught him to hate the other gods who had betrayed him.

Tablet IV

When he had grown into a man,
the son came to his father and said:
     My father and my lord,
     Let me go down the mountain to the land where the human creatures live!
     There i will hide among them and learn of their ways,
     I will live in their houses and fight in their battles,
     I will study their arts and their wisdom;
     Their women will have no secrets from me,
     And their men will be my friends,
     And from them i shall discover how to avenge us against the gods!
His father answered:
     Go, my son and my friend to the humans by the sea,
     But do not say you are a god.
     Hide your mighty body in sheepskins,
     Do not show your strength to their men,
     Nor your divine beauty to their women,
     Lest they become afraid of you and flee.
So the son went down the mountain,
and he crossed the desert into the land where humans live.  
When they asked him whence he came he replied:
     I live in the desert,
and when they asked after his name he answered:
     I am the son of No One.

Many days he walked in the sand;
for twenty days he did not see a man,
for thirty days he spied no son of woman.
He had no food to eat
and he had no water to drink
so his legs became weak and his feet stumbled,
and he fell to ground under the hot sun,
like a warrior slain by a mighty blow.
A harlot lived outside a great city;
she saw the nameless one in the dust
and she looked upon his face
and she saw that it was beautiful,
she beheld his mighty limbs,
and they were like cedars from the mountains,
his eyes were [shaped like] almonds
and his hair [waved like] reeds in the [w]ind.
Shamhat the harlot said:
     Surely this is a noble man,
     The son of a great king,
     A mighty warrior and a strong fighter.
     Let me fetch some water for his lips
     And then i shall bake him some bread,
     For he was smitten by the sun,
     He has dried out like grass without rain,
     And now the wild beasts of the field will kill him.
When the great warrior awoke he drank the water,
like a great whale[?] that can swallow the sea.
And he ate the bread set before him,
no [crumb] did he leave untouched.
And opening his mouth he spoke unto her:
     Oh kind woman of the desert,
     Great queen who has given me shelter!
     Speak of what your heart desires,
     Open to me the secrets of your soul!
     Then i shall grant you your wishes,
     Your joy i will make complete,
     For you have been kind to a wounded man,
     To a fallen stranger you have shown goodness!
The harlot spoke unto her lord:
     My lord, i am but a poor woman,
     I have neither great wealth nor a husband,
     At night my eyes weep upon my bed,
     In the noontime my belly longs for a child.
     Grant me this wish my lord,
     Have pity upon your servant-girl,
     If i had a son to protect me, i would not fear;
     If my womb were not barren, i would rejoice!
The harlot unclutched her bosom, and he beheld her voluptuousness;
her teeth were like sheep grazing in the meadow,
her lips were a pool of refreshing water;
her neck was [as long as] a city tower,
her breasts rose into the air like mountains.
Shamhat spread out her robe and he lay with her;
his lust grew strong over her,
as stones in a quarry are hewn asunder with a hammer,
as the far[mer] plows deeply into his field sowing his seed,
as the royal chariot parts a way through enemy lines,
so the god lay with the woman.
For six days and seven nights he stayed aroused
and had intercourse with the woman;
from sundown to sunrise they rolled [in the] dust,
for many days the earth shook with their play.
Then she conceived from his seed,
to twins she gave birth with a shout.
The first boy was strong, beautiful and cruel,
the other child was good [but weak and ugly?]
[...] jostled [...]
[...] terrible [was] the fight.

Amongst the humans he beheld many marvelous things.
He saw how they built houses of clay bricks,
and ships out of tall cedar trees from the forests;
how they made clothes out of wool to cover their bodies,
and dipped them in vats to give them beautiful colors;
how they built walls around their cities for protection,
and how they erected lofty[?] temples to propitiate the gods;
he discovered how they made wine from grapes and bread from wheat,
how they pressed oil from olives to [...].
But then he saw how they also made war,
how strong men would take up shields and swords and run out into battle,
how they slew their enemies by cutting off their heads,
how they burned down entire cities and took the women and children as slaves.
He said unto himself:
     I must find a sword for my father,
     I must create a weapon for my lord!
     Then he can avenge himself of the other gods,
     And sever their mighty heads from their bodies!
So he went to a blacksmith,
to the mighty men who mix fire[?] and stone[?];
he had a sword made of unbreakable metal,
a weapon such as none had ever beheld,
[which was] longer than a woman and heavier than a child!

But at night he could not sleep for thieves [would come]
who desired to steal his sword from beside him.
So he found the largest bull in the land and killed it;
with his sword he skinned it and tanned it
(and that is how humans learned to make leather).
Then he hid the heavy sword in the giant bull's hide
and ran to his father in the desert.

After many days' journey he arrived at the mountain in the desert.
He removed the sword from the hide,
and lifting it into the air, offered it to his lord, saying:
     Here is a sword with which you can slay your enemies,
     With this sharp weapon you will sever many heads!
     The gods that would not speak with you will speak no more,
     Their women and children will weep in silence
     For they too will be no more!
     Avenge us with this sword, oh my lord,
     So that we might raise our heads and be ashamed no longer!
His father took the heavy sword and said:
     You have done well my servant,
     But this sword cannot kill a god
     Because nothing men can make could hurt an eternal one.
He plunged the sword into his son's breast,
but no blood flowed from the wound.  He said:
     Nay, my son, this sword cannot avenge us,
     Only that which comes from a god can kill a god.

Tablet V

The son of No One sat down upon the mountain,
and he thought for a very long time.
He rested his broad forehead upon his fist;
for many days and many nights he did not move,
and the animals came and nested in his hair,
they sought shelter from the sun beneath his mighty thighs.
[...] night [...]
He got up and revealed the dream to his lord, saying:
     Lord, i had this dream last night.
     I was sitting upon a mountain in the heat of the day
     When i heard a low cry.  I looked down the mountain,
     From the top of this hill i peered into the land of humans,
     There i saw a woman lying on her back crying out in great pain,
     Her legs were spread out wide,
     Like two roads parting ways in the valley,
     Her swollen[?] breasts danced upon her chest,
     Like children frolicking in the grass,
     And her mouth uttered abominable sounds.
     Then a child came out from between her thighs,
     A miniature [human] crawled out from her stomach,
     Red with blood like wine that is poured from a jar
     Into a cup that overflows[?].
     The child raised its small fist to the sun
     And cried out like a warrior before battle,
     But no sound came from its opened mouth.
The god without a name spoke to his servant and said:
     My son, your dream is favorable,
     It is a dream of great importance,
     A foretoken of things to come.
     The child you saw is [...]
     [Many lines are missing here]
[The son is now speaking:]
     [...] the sword,
     [...] avenge us.
So the god without a name gave the sword to his servant,
wrapped in a dead bull's hide.

He ran and ran for many days and many nights,
through the sand and rocks of the burning desert,
where snakes and scorpions made way,
and lions kept their distance;
when he stopped at a watering hole to slake his thirst,
every animal scattered in fear,
for he was taller than a mountain
and carried a burning sword.
He ran through valleys where shepherds[?] lived,
through the villages and cities of men;
he did not stop to speak with the men at the gates,
nor did he go to the harlots in the cities at night.
He climbed every mountain and slept under the stars at night.
Until finally he came to the gods' encampment,
on a high plateau they had pitched their tents.
He waited until night had fallen,
when sleep had closed every eye,
and quiet had spread through the air.

Then he walked into the camp
and found the tent where king's daughter lay.
He parted the [drapes hanging over] the entrance way,
before the young woman he appeared.
She opened her eyes and beheld his manliness,
awaking from [her] sleep she desired him.
Tall as a mighty tower he stood before her,
his hair was [blond] as a lamb's wool,
and his eyes sparkled like the northern star.
He removed her covers and beheld her virgin[?] body,
her skin was pure and white as milk,
her breasts were like marble temples,
her [woman]hood [was like] bushes on a river.
The young girl opened her legs,
without a sound she beckoned him,
and the servant lay with the goddess,
like two snakes they intertwined forever.
But when his seed began to flow,
he spilled it upon the earth,
like water gushing into [irrigation] canals.
[Instead] he took hold of his sword in his right hand,
from out of the hide he removed his weapon,
and he inserted it between her legs until it disappeared.

He waited in a cave for many days and many months,
watching the young girl to see what would happen.
Rain fell upon the land and he did not move,
the sun shone until his mouth was parched,
but the servant remained concealed in his hole.
The young girl blossomed and became beautiful,
her breasts swelled and her stomach bulged.
As she was out alone in the fields
she fell to the ground and screamed.
She opened her legs, and uttered a mighty shout,
from her inner [body] she expelled the sword!
to a mighty weapon the goddess gave birth!
After her labors she fell asleep,
and the nameless one walked over to her;
he picked up the sword that lay between her legs;
it gleamed in the sun.
He stood above the goddess as she slept,
and pierced her below her left breast.
A wound formed and a drop of blood trickled out.
He stooped down and wiped it with his finger to taste it.
The blood was sw[eet ...]

[Half of the tablet is missing. The other gods seem to have surprised him, causing him to flee.]

Tablet VI

[...] sun [...]
clothes [...] lost[?]
[...] fell into a deep sleep.
A snake crawled out of the waters,
a long serpent [slithered] out of an old skin;
it approached the nameless one as he lay sleeping.
The oldest of animals saw the gleaming sword and coveted[?] it,
it drew itself around the blade,
as two snakes will enlace when mating,
as a man will lie with a woman,
but the sword was sharp and it slit the snake in two,
in two unequal parts the legless-one was severed.
When the nameless one awoke he saw the two pieces [of the snake]
and was frightened.  He rose to his feet and left that evil place.

[The rest of the tablet is missing]

Tablet VII

[The son of No One delivered a city(?) from Humbaba, a monster.  The elders(?) are speaking.]

     [...] great one
     [With his] hands he wrestled the beast,
     [With] his mighty arms he encircled his neck.
     For twenty days the great warrior fought Humbaba,
     For thirty nights did the ground tremble as they jostled!
     Humbaba's breath is death, his mouth speaks fire,
     But the nameless one tickled him under the chin,
     The son of god played with him in the morning hours!
     The monster's tail is heavier than a cedar tree,
     With one [swing] it can destroy a house,
     But the nameless one sliced it with his sword,
     With his powerful arm, he ripped it asunder!

Tablet VIII

[...] fell upon his knees
and [gave?] the sword to his lord, saying:
     Here is a magical sword that can kill gods!
     With this metallic[?] rod you shall disappear all our enemies!
His father took the sword into his hands;
he raised the blade on high, which shone in the the sun,
and he cried out with a voice that caused every stone to [tremble]:      My son, today is a [new] day!
     Vengeance will be ours forever!
After those words, he girded his loins and set off to find the gods.
His legs carried him 100 leagues with every step,
he leapt over mountains like a goat[?] climbs a rock,
and forded rivers without dampening[?] his feet,
but his father held him back and said:
     My servant, spare the girl with a scar on her left breast,
     Do not kill the woman whom you have wounded,
     For this sword came from out of her flesh,
     From her body issued our strength,
     And it would be a sin to use it against her.

[Here it appears the father is doing the killing, not the son.]

The god without a name ran to the gods' camp and waited at a distance.
He waited until night, when sleep closes every eye,
and quiet spreads through the air.
Then he walked into the king's tent and beheaded husband and wife,
man and woman he pinned to the ground;
from tent to tent he moved, killing every god in them,
every chest did his sword pierce,
in every habitation he left death behind him;
only the girl with a scar on her breast he did not kill.
When all was done, he took the girl with him,
he brought her back to his servant and spoke to him:

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