Inanna by Diane Wolkstein, Samuel Noah Kramer |, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Inanna

Inanna

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by Diane Wolkstein, Samuel Noah Kramer
     
 

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A fresh retelling of the ancient texts about Ishtar, the world's first goddess. Illustrated with visual artifacts of the period. "A great masterpiece of universal literature."--Mircea Eliade

Overview

A fresh retelling of the ancient texts about Ishtar, the world's first goddess. Illustrated with visual artifacts of the period. "A great masterpiece of universal literature."--Mircea Eliade

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060908546
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
08/28/1983
Series:
Harper Perennial
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
290,934
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.64(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The Huluppu-Tree

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 earth had separated 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
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 word of the Air God, Enlil,
Plucked the tree from the river and spoke:

"I shall bring this tree toUruk.
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, then ten years.
The tree grew thick,
But its bark did not split.

Then a serpent who could not be charmed
Made its nest in the roots of the huluppu-tree.
The Anzu-bird set his young 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 abundance 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, a huluppu-tree
Was planted by the banks of the Euphrates.
The South Wind pulled at its roots and 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.)"

Utu, the valiant warrior, Utu,
Would not help his sister, Inanna.

As the birds began 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 and 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 huluppu-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.

What People are saying about this

Mircea Eliade
"A great masterpiece of universal literature."

Meet the Author

Diane Wolkstein has been teaching, performing, and writing for over thirty-five years. She is the author of numerous award-winning books of folklore, including The Magic Orange Tree, and Other Haitian Folktales and Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth: Her Stories and Hymns from Sumer. Known for her meticulous research as well as her great range as a performer, Ms. Wolkstein traveled to Australia three times while preparing this story. She gives workshops on storytelling worldwide and lives in New York City.

In Her Own Words...

"I love stories. They give me strength, Inspiration, courage, and great delight. For thirty years I've told stories at the statue of Hans Christian Andersen in Central Park. I love watching the eyes of my audience light up as they enter stories. Stories let us explore the farthest places in the universe and the deepest recesses of the human heart. They present possibilities. They let us try out different emotions and characters. Stories are treasures which last forever.

"I also enjoy gardening, dancing, swimming, painting, and creating stories with music. My daughter, Rachel Zucker, is a poet, photographer, and the mother of a little boy named Moses."

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Inanna 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
emberfireVD More than 1 year ago
This Book is a great resource book for my own studies into the GODDESS! It also discussed authors personal journey which is nice to read how Inanna impacted her personal life!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Being a woman, reading this book is very empowering, especially since this is based in a time so long ago in Ancient Sumer and the reader can relate it to the current. The story of Inanna's journey from a young woman to her maturity and becoming a goddess is not only a great story, but Wolkstein's words and repetion of certain elements shows the strength the character had to meet her ultimate goal.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago