THE HULUPPU TREE

 
Version One
 
In days of yore, in the distant days of yore,
In nights of yore, in the far-off nights of yore,
In days of yore, in the distant days of yore,
 
After in days of yore all things needful had been brought into being,
After in days of yore all things needful had been ordered,
After bread had been tasted in the shrines of the Land,
After bread had been baked in the ovens of the Land,
After heaven had been moved away from earth,
After earth had been separated from heaven,
After the name of man had been fixed,
After An had carried off heaven,
After Enlil had carried off earth,
After Ereshkigal had been carried off into the nether world as its prize --
 
After he had set sail, after he had set sail,
After the father had set sail for the nether world,
Against the king, the small were hurled,
Against Enki, the large were hurled,
Its small stones of the hand,
Its large stones of the dancing reeds,
The keel of Enki's boat,
Overwhelm in battle like an attacking storm,
Against the king, the water at the head of the boat,
Devours like a wolf,
Against Enki, the water at the rear of the boat,
Strikes down like a lion.
Enki is the patron god of music and arts. Inanna stole the power of music.
 
Once upon a time, a tree, a huluppu, a tree --
It had been planted on the bank of the Euphrates,
It was watered by the Euphrates --
The violence of the South Wind plucked up its roots,
Tore away its crown,
The Euphrates carried it off on its waters.
 
The woman, roving about in fear at the word of An,
Roving about in fear at the word of Enlil,
Took the tree in her hand, brought it to Erech:
"I shall bring it to pure Inanna's fruitful garden."
 
The woman tended the tree with her hand, placed it by her foot,
Inanna tended the tree with her hand, placed it by her foot,
"When will it be a fruitful throne for me to sit on," she said,
"When will it be a fruitful bed for me to lie on," she said.
 
The tree grew big, its trunk bore no foliage,
In its roots the snake who knows no charm set up its nest,
In its crown the Imdugud-bird placed its young,
In its midst the maid Lilith built her house --
The always laughing, always rejoicing maid,
The maid Inanna -- how she weeps! See in Apocryphon of John.
See The Origin of the World
 
As light broke, as the horizon brightened,
As Utu came forth from the "princely field,"
His sister, the holy Inanna,
Says to her brother Utu:
"My brother, after in days of yore the fates had been decreed,
After abundance had sated the land,
After An had carried off heaven,
After Enlil had carried off earth,
After Ereshkigal had been carried off into the nether world as its prize --
 
After he had set sail, after he had set sail,
After the father had set sail for the nether world,
Against the king, the small were hurled,
Against Enki, the large were hurled,
Its small stones of the hand,
Its large stones of the dancing reeds,
The keel of Enki's boat,
Overwhelm in battle like an attacking storm,
Against the king, the water at the head of the boat,
Devours like a wolf,
Against Enki, the water at the rear of the boat,
Strikes down like a lion.
 
Once upon a time, a tree, a huluppu, a tree --
It had been planted on the bank of the Euphrates,
It was watered by the Euphrates --
The violence of the South Wind plucked up its roots,
Tore away its crown,
The Euphrates carried it off on its waters.
 
The woman, roving about in fear at the word of An,
Roving about in fear at the word of Enlil,
Took the tree in her hand, brought it to Erech:
"I shall bring it to pure Inanna's fruitful garden.'
 
The woman tended the tree with her hand, placed it by her foot,
Inanna tended the tree with her hand, placed it by her foot,
"When will it be a fruitful throne for me to sit on,' she said,
"When will it be a fruitful bed for me to lie on,' she said.
 
The tree grew big, its trunk bore no foliage,
In its roots the snake who knows no charm set up its nest,
In its crown the Imdugud-bird placed its young,
In its midst the maid Lilith built her house --
The always laughing, always rejoicing maid,
I, the maid Inanna, how I weep!"
 
Her brother, the hero, the valiant Utu,
Stood not by her in this matter.
 
As light broke, as the horizon brightened,
As Utu came forth from the "princely field,"
His sister, the holy Inanna,
Speaks to the hero Gilgamesh:
"My brother, after in days of yore the fates had been decreed,
After abundance had sated the land,
After An had carried off heaven,
After Enlil had carried off earth,
After Ereshkigal had been carried off into the nether world as its prize --
 
After he had set sail, after he had set sail,
After the father had set sail for the nether world,
Against the king, the small were hurled,
Against Enki, the large were hurled,
Its small stones of the hand,
Its large stones of the dancing reeds,
The keel of Enki's boat,
Overwhelm in battle like an attacking storm,
Against the king, the water at the head of the boat,
Devours like a wolf,
Against Enki, the water at the rear of the boat,
Strikes down like a lion.
 
Once upon a time, a tree, a huluppu, a tree --
It had been planted on the bank of the Euphrates,
It was watered by the Euphrates --
The violence of the South Wind plucked up its roots,
Tore away its crown,
The Euphrates carried it off on its waters.
 
The woman, roving about in fear at the word of An,
Roving about in fear at the word of Enlil,
Took the tree in her hand, brought it to Erech:
"I shall bring it to pure Inanna's fruitful garden.'
 
The woman tended the tree with her hand, placed it by her foot,
Inanna tended the tree with her hand, placed it by her foot,
"When will it be a fruitful throne for me to sit on,' she said,
"When will it be a fruitful bed for me to lie on,' she said.
 
The tree grew big, its trunk bore no foliage,
In its roots the snake who knows no charm set up its nest,
In its crown the Imdugud-bird placed its young,
In its midst the maid Lilith built her house --
The always laughing, always rejoicing maid,
I, the maid Inanna, how I weep!"
 
Her brother, the hero Gilgamesh,
Stood by her in this matter,
He donned armor weighing fifty minas about his waist --
Fifty minas were handled by him like thirty shekels --
His "ax of the road" --
Seven talents and seven minas -- he took in his hand,
At its roots he struck down the snake who knows no charm,
In its crown the Imdugud-bird took its young, climbed to the mountains,
In its midst the maid Lilith tore down her house, fled to the wastes.
 
The tree -- he plucked at its roots, tore at its crown,
The sons of the city who accompanied him cut off its branches,
He gives it to holy Inanna for her throne,
Gives it to her for her bed,
She fashions its roots into a pukku for him,
Fashions its crown into a mikku for him.
 
The summoning pukku -- in street and lane he made the pukku resound,
The loud drumming -- in street and lane he made the drumming resound,
The young men of the city, summoned by the pukku --
Bitterness and woe -- he is the affliction of their widows,
"O my mate, O my spouse," they lament,
Who had a mother -- she brings bread to her son,
Who had a sister -- she brings water to her brother.
 
After the evening star had disappeared,
And he had marked the places where his pukku had been,
He carried the pukku before him, brought it to his house,
At dawn in the places he had marked -- bitterness and woe!
Captives! Dead! Widows!
 
Because of the cry of the young maidens,
His pukku and mikku fell into the "great dwelling,"
He put in his hand, could not reach them,
Put in his foot, could not reach them,
He sat down at the great gate ganzir, the "eye" of the nether world,
Gilgamesh wept, his face turns pale . . . .
 
The Sumerians. Samuel Noah Kramer, p. 199.
 
Version Two
The Huluppu-Tree
 
Wolkstein, Diane & Samuel Noah Kramer. (1983). Inanna queen of
heaven and earth: Her stories and hymns from Sumer. New York: Harper & Row.
 
In the first days, in the very first days,
In the first nights, in the very first nights,
In the first years, in the very first years,
 
In the first days when everything needed was brought into being,
In the first days when everything needed was properly nourished,
When bread was baked in the shrines of the land,
And bread was tasted in the homes of the land,
When heaven had moved away from earth,
And the earth had seperated from heaven,
And the name of man was fixed;
When the Sky God, An, had carried off the heavens,
And the Air God, Enlil, had carried off the earth,
When the Queen of the Great Below, Ereshkigal, was given
the underworld for her domain,
 
He set sail; the Father set sail,
Enki, the God of Wisdom, set sail for the underworld.
Small windstones were tossed up against him;
Large hailstones were hurled up against him;
Like onrushing turtles,
They charged the keel of Enki's boat.
The waters of the sea devoured the bow of his boat like wolves;
The waters of the sea struck the stern of his boat like lions.
 
At that time, a tree, a single tree, a huluppu-tree (Willow)
Was planted by the banks of the Euphrates.
The tree was nurtured by the waters of the Euphrates.
The whirling South Wind arose, pulling at its roots
And ripping at its branches
Until the waters of the Euphrates carried it away.
 
A woman who walked in fear of the word of the Sky God, An,
Who walked in fear of the Air God, Enlil,
Plucked the tree from the river and spoke:
"I shall bring this tree to Uruk.
I shall plant this tree in my holy garden."
 
Inanna cared for the tree with her hand
She settled the earth around the tree with her foot
She wondered:
 
"How long will it be until I have a shining throne to sit upon?
How Long will it be until I have a shining bed to lie upon?"
 
The years passed; five years, and then ten years.
The tree grew thick,
But its bark did not split.
Then the serpent who could not be charmed
Made it's nest in the roots of the huluppu-tree.
The Anzu-bird set its you in the branches of the tree.
And the dark maid Lilith built her home in the trunk.
The young woman who loved to laugh wept.
How Inanna wept!
 
(Yet they would not leave her tree.)
 
As the birds began to sing at the coming of the dawn,
The sun God, Utu, left his royal bedchamber.
Inanna called to her brother Utu, saying:
 
"O Utu, in the days when the fates were decreed,
When abudance overflowed in the land,
When the Sky God took the heavens and the Air God the earth,
When Ereshkigal was given the Great Below for her domain,
The God of Wisdom, Father Enki, set sail for the underworld,
And the underworld rose up and attacked him....
 
At that time, a tree, a single tree, the huluppa-tree
Was planted by the banks of the Euphrates.
The South Wind pulled at its roots and ripped its branches
Until the water of the Euphrates carried it away.
I plucked the tree from the river;
I brought it to my holy garden.
I tended the tree, waiting for my shining throne and bed.
 
Then a serpent who could not be charmed
Made its nest in the roots of the tree,
The Anzu-bird set his young in the branches of the tree,
And the dark maid Lilith built her home in the trunk.
I wept.
How I wept!
(Yet they would not leave my tree."
 
Utu, the valiant warrior, Utu,
Would not help his sister, Inanna.
 
As the birds befan to sing at the coming of the second dawn,
Inanna called to her brother Gilgamesh, saying:
 
"O Gilgamesh, in the days when the fates were decreed,
When abundance overflowed in Sumer,
When the Sky God had taken the heavens and the Air God
the earth,
When Ereshkigal was given the Great Below for her domain,
The God of Wisdom, Father Enki, set sail for the
underworld,
 
And the underworld rose up and attacked him.
At that time, a tree, a single tree, a huluppu-tree
Was planted by the banks of the Euphrates.
The South Wind pulled at its roots adn ripped at its
branches
 
Until the waters of the Euphrates carried it away.
I plucked the tree from the river;
I brought it to my holy garden.
I tended the tree, waiting for my shining throne and bed.
 
Then a serpent who could not be charmed
Made its nest in the roots of the tree,
The Anzu-bird set his young in the branches of the tree,
And the dark maid Lilith built her home in the trunk.
 
I wept.
How I wept!
(Yet they would not leave my tree.)"
 
Gilgamesh, the valiant warrior Gilgamesh,
The hero of Uruk, stood by Inanna.
 
Gilgamesh fastened his armor of fifty minas around his chest.
The fifty minas weighed as little to him as fifty feathers.
He lifted his bronze ax, the ax of the road,
Weighing seven talents and seven minas, to his shoulder.
He entered Inanna's holy garden.
 
Gilgamesh struck the serpent who could not be charmed.
The Anzu-bird flew with his young to the mountains;
And Lilith smashed her home and fled to the wild, uninhabited
places.
 
Gilgamesh then loosened the roots of the huluppa-tree;
And the sons of the city, who accompanied him, cut off the
branches.
 
From the trunk of the tree he carved a throne for his holy
sister.
From the trunk of the tree Gilgamesh carved a bed for Inanna.
From the roots of the tree she fashioned a pukku for her brother.
From the crown of the tree Inanna fashioned a mikku for Gilgamesh
the hero of Uruk.
 

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