That afternoon, five new
ZIPANG storytellers made their public debut by telling
their chosen Mesopotamian story to an audience of curious
listeners including an Iraqi visitor from Beirut and a
contingent of Italians from Edinburgh.
Laura Collins and Emily Elizabeth
told Etana. In their version of this tale, when the flying eagle
tosses King Etana off his back and sends him tumbling towards
the ground three times, each time catching him on the tip of his
wing, it is in order to ‘toughen him up’.
Mohamed T. Ali, the self-styled ‘Poor Man
of Essex’, introduced his retelling of The Poor Man of Nippur
with the words ‘Once upon a time...’ in Arabic and Kurdish.
The Bull of Heaven was brought down to earth to
destroy the city of Uruk by an angry Ishtar after insults from
Gilgamesh and Enkidu, in Arabic by Badia Obaid and in
English by Ann Gilmartin. We left The Epic of
Gilgamesh with Gilgamesh and Enkidu celebrating their
humiliation of Ishtar. This misdeed is one too many for the
gods. As Gilgamesh, Enkidu and their party guests slumber, the
gods decide which of the two heroes will never recover from his