Inanna and Shukaletuda


The story begins by telling how the first date palm was planted and grew thanks to a raven. Instructed by Enki, the god of fresh water and wisdom, the raven boldly watered the date palm by bumping the weight of a shadouf up and down.

Less efficient than the raven was a spotty-faced young gardener named Shukaletuda. It was his job to install equipment for watering plants. Instead he dug up their roots and they died. When a storm blew dust into Shukaletuda’s eyes he saw gods, including the goddess Inanna.

Inanna lay down to rest in the shade of a poplar tree growing in Shukaletuda’s field. He had sex with her as she slept then crept away. When Inanna awoke she was furious. She searched high and low for her violator to punish him.

Shukaletuda hid in the city with his brothers but Inanna found him when he made himself as small as he could and was blown into the mountains. She cursed him as a dog, a donkey and a pig.

Being a mortal man, Shukaletuda had to die, while Inanna lived forever as a goddess.

Shukaletuda’s story continued to be told, however, sung as a song down the ages.

Click thumbnails to view photos:

4th December 2010 4th December 2010 4th December 2010 4th December 2010

Collecting heritage trails in the Great Court of the British Museum

In the Poetry Café creating the shadouf of the story world

Listening to ZIPANG storyteller June Peters

Solo storytelling with Iraqi oud music