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Thursday, 23 May 2013

Lady of the bright air.

From time immemorial girls have been straying from the path, despite the sage advice given to them by their mothers. Most versions of this story start with the wise older woman telling her daughter to stay on the path and avoid the risks of attracting 'unwanted' attention.

Loss of virtue...
A euphemism.

Yet this particular story- Enlil and Ninlil- may not have begun that way.
Noah Kramer's translation begins with the mother (The old woman of Nippur) telling Ninlil to go bathe herself in the 'pure' river, as if the mother wishes her daughter to experience what will surely happen there.

The heroine must chose her fate.

Like Janet...'who ties her kirtle green above her knee' and goes to Carter Hall (Carterhaugh)



Out then spake her father dear, 
And he spake meek and mild, 
"And ever alas, sweet Janet," he says, 
"I think thou goest with child."

"If that I go with child, Father, 
Myself must bear the blame, 
There's never a lord about your hall, 
Shall give the child a name."

"If my love were an earthly knight, 
Though he's an elfin grey, 
I would not give my own true-love 
For any lord that ye have."

"The steed that my true love rides on 
Is lighter than the wind, 
With silver he is shod before, 
With burning gold behind."


Here is an Akkadian translation of a Sumerian myth simplified:

Enlil and Ninlil.


The mother spoke to her daughter.
"Child, take care."
"Take care"
"The river is Holy"
"Do not swim there."

"Do not go walking along the banks of the Id-nunbir"
"Do not go there."

"The Lord's eye is bright and he will notice you."
"He will have his way with you."
"Child, he will want to kiss."
"He will pour lusty semen into your womb and then he will leave you to it!"

She advised her from the heart, she gave wisdom to her.
But Ninlil, Lady of the bright air did not hear.

Ninlil went down to the flowing Id-nunbir.
As she walked the Lord's eye was bright
The Lord walked beside her and took her hands
"I will kiss you" he said
But he could not make her.
"I will take you to bed" he said

And Ninlil felt the ground shift below her feet.

"No" she said
"I am too young"
"I am a virgin"
"I am small"
"I do not know how to kiss"

"If my parents find out I will be full of shame"
"But no one will stop me telling my girlfriend about this"

The Lord commanded his minister
And the boat was fetched.

The Lord took Ninlil over the river
To lie with her on a star-strewn bank.
Here he  poured the seed of Suen, the crescent moon, into her womb.

Latter...
The fifty great gods and the seven gods who decide destinies had the Lord arrested.

The Lord had committed a crime.

"The Lady is a child"!

The Lord was banished to the Underworld.

Ninlil, broken hearted, put on her shoes and followed.

At the first gate the Lord called to the gate-keeper, touched his eyes and sent him to sleep.
The Lord took the form of the gate-keeper and waited.

At the first gate Ninlil called out
"City gatekeeper! Keeper of the holy barrier! When did your lord Enlil go by?

The Lord answered as the city gatekeeper:

"My lord has not talked with me at all, O loveliest one."
"The Lord has not talked with me at all, O loveliest one."

Ninlil replied
 "I will make clear my aim and explain my intent".
"You can fill my womb once it is empty"
" Enlil, lord of all the lands, has had sex with me!"
"Just as Enlil is your lord, so am I your lady!"

 "The seed of your lord Enlil, the bright seed, is in my womb".
"The seed of the Moon, the bright seed of the new moon, is in my womb."

Lord Enlil replied
"My master's seed can go up to the heavens!"
" Let my seed go downwards!"
" Let my seed go downwards, instead of my master's seed!"

Enlil, as the city gatekeeper, got her to lie down in the chamber. He had intercourse with her there, he kissed her there. At this one intercourse, at this one kissing he poured the seed of Nergal-Meslamtea into her womb.

Ninlil continued her journey.
Beyond the gate the river grew dim
Beyond the gate the river grew wild.
Id-kura the 'man-eating' river.

Ninlil spoke to the man of the Id-kura, the river of ordeals.

"My man of the Id-kura, the man-eating river!"
" When did your lord Enlil go by?"

And Enlil answered as the man of the Id-kura:
"My lord has not talked with me at all, O loveliest one."
"Enlil has not talked with me at all, O loveliest one."

Ninlil replied
 "I will make clear my aim and explain my intent".
"You can fill my womb once it is empty"
" Enlil, lord of all the lands, has had sex with me!"
"Just as Enlil is your lord, so am I your lady!"

 "The seed of your lord Enlil, the bright seed, is in my womb".
"The seed of the Moon, the bright seed of the new moon, is in my womb."

Lord Enlil replied
"My master's seed can go up to the heavens!"
" Let my seed go downwards!"
" Let my seed go downwards, instead of my master's seed!"

Enlil, as the man of the Id-kura, got her to lie down in the chamber. He had intercourse with her there, he kissed her there. At this one intercourse, at this one kissing he poured into her womb the seed of Ninazu, the king who stretches measuring lines over the fields.

Enlil went.
Ninlil followed.

Where the river bends there stands Siluigi the man of the ferryboat.
And Ninlil spoke to the boat man.

"Man of the ferryboat!"
" When did your lord Enlil go by?"

And Enlil answered as the man of the ferryboat
"My lord has not talked with me at all, O loveliest one."
"Enlil has not talked with me at all, O loveliest one."

Ninlil replied
 "I will make clear my aim and explain my intent".
"You can fill my womb once it is empty"
" Enlil, lord of all the lands, has had sex with me!"
"Just as Enlil is your lord, so am I your lady!"

 "The seed of your lord Enlil, the bright seed, is in my womb".
"The seed of the Moon, the bright new moon, is in my womb."

Lord Enlil replied
"My master's seed can go up to the heavens!"
" Let my seed go downwards!"
" Let my seed go downwards, instead of my master's seed!"

Enlil, as Siluigi got her to lie down in the chamber. He had intercourse with her there, he kissed her there. At this one intercourse, at this one kissing he poured into her womb the seed of Enbilulu, the inspector of canals.

*
You are lord!
You are king!
Enlil, you are lord!
You are king!

Nunamnir, you are lord!
You are king!
You are supreme lord, you are powerful lord!
Lord who makes flax grow, lord who makes barley grow, you are lord of heaven, Lord Plenty, lord of the earth!

You are lord of the earth, Lord Plenty, lord of heaven!
Enlil in heaven, Enlil is king!

 Lord whose utterance cannot be altered at all! His primordial utterances will not be changed!

For the praise spoken for Ninlil the mother, praise be to the Great Mountain, Father Enlil!