[See] the tablet-box of cedar,
[release] its clasp of bronze.
[Lift] the lid of its secret,
[pick] up the tablet of lapis lazuli and read out
the travails of Gilgamesh, all that went through.
The oldest know literary epic poem in the world, based on stories written down around 4,000 years ago, and translated and adapted to other languages thousands of years ago. The most complete version existing today is preserved on 12 clay tablets in the Nineveh library collection of the 7th century BC Assyrian king Ashurbanipal. The epic is a story of King Gilgamesh, his travels and his search for wisdom. It also contains the first account of a flood story. It was Sumerian culture that first gave us the art of writing, and it was there that the first city wall between civilisation and nature was built at Uruk, the city built by King Gilgamesh.
I belong to the Dog Prairie,
There I once got my birth,
What is my name, who is my daddy.
But then they just took me away
From the dusty endless plain. —
Sirkka Turkka (1939—): Sielun veli. 1993.