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Uta-Napishtim

The message I received from the gods was as follows:
PREPARE FOR A DELUGE . Construct at once a LARGE ship .
Fill it with whatever you value. Cattle, servants, craftsmen,
any members of your family you wish to preserve.
Maintain
an aviary of birds, for these are my personal servants.'

(‘Never be niggardly in beasts for offering or sacrifice.')

At this time I could see no sign of a catastrophe.
Nevertheless I thrust into the ship all the more agreeable
of my kinsfolk . Every kind of animal I packed into it
( It was in 3 storeys & each hold was ENORMOUS ) . I saw
that in the end there would be nothing but chaos,
emptiness … I commanded my sons,‘ Take serpents, insects
& sea-mammals, & arrange them in the holds with the animals
which are already collected. ' ‡

Day & night, night & day - many days we resisted
the hurricane … Endlessly the rain , swollen to an ocean ,
urged monstrously at us… Nobody prayed, but instead
we all of us - men , insects , birds , mammals & reptiles
fought desperately . . .

On the seventeenth day the sea
calmed herself . On the twentieth the waters began to sink.
On the fiftieth a mountain appeared , & on the hundredth
the mud , the lowlying marshes , surrounded us emptily …
Tradition mistakenly declares that we released
a dove , swallow & raven ( I threw open the window
& sunlight - direct from the gods - beat on my head .)
Immediately - who would wait for a word ? - we streamed
from our prison . . .

THERE WAS NO LONGER ANYWHERE A SINGLE
ANTAGONIST. We drew a map. Everything was shared.
I commanded everyone - all the animals - to sit appropriately
in the necessary ranks . . . At the centre of this multitude
I built an altar. I cast down reeds, cedarwood & incense,
& at once ( with full agreement ) drew from the crowd by lot
the required sacrifice …
. And when the gods smelt the goodly savour
they gathered ‘happily rejuvenated like flies '
( Gilgamish says ) over the sacrificer.

† He survives a deluge & remembers It .
In the Epic of Gilgamish the Flood is described
in the 11th chapter ( 80 - 160 )

‡ There is unfortunately no description in Genesis 6
of the arrangement of the cargo in the ark .

Note

One feels that a mixture of a number of vague details can be given of the Gilgamish & Biblical accounts of the Flood, since these & other stories, derived from traditional recollections, should not be swallowed instantly as statements of fact .

The tale of Uta-Napishtim has an odd but lovely ending, with a dream of shared happiness .

( In the AV there is also clear indication that peace & happiness are possible .)