Divine mistakes

The first man Ninmah fashioned with clay from the abzu waters could not bend his outstretched hands. So Enki decreed his fate as a servant to the king. Then Ninmah fashioned one with weak eyes, a man with broken feet, a woman who could not give birth, and one with neither penis nor vagina. Enki allotted their fates, too:  the musical arts, silversmith, a weaver in the queen’s household. The sixth creature Enki named ‘enuch’.

Then Enki desired to fashion a creature of his own devising. This was Umul: so weak and shapeless, es hand could not even put bread to es mouth. Ninmah could give it no fate, and Enki threw the clay to the ground. But Ninmah hid it between her legs.

Umul had no speech; e could not work with es hands, and could not lie with men or women. So they cast Umul out of the city. Enki said to Ninmah: “I will cut Umul in two that e might no longer be alone.” But Umul had no eyes and could not find es other half.

The people complained to the king: “We cannot draw water to drink because the monster Umul lies by the cistern and our hearts are filled with fear.” So the king sent out a harlot to find Umul. When Shamhat beholds e she utters an incantation and hardens his body. She spreads out her robe and lies with him. Six days and seven nights she lies with Umul, and at dawn she pierces seven holes in his head.


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