This is the eagle’s chance to redeem himself by helping Etana
find the herb of birth kept by the goddess Inana. Etana flies on
the eagle’s back up towards heaven. Each time he looks down the
world he knows is further away and smaller.
Close to the gates of heaven, Etana panics and
asks the eagle to take him back to the city of Kish. The eagle
twists his body, Etana falls off and tumbles down toward the
ground only to be rescued when the eagle swoops and catches him
on the tip of his wing. This happens three times.
Back in the city of Kish, Etana dreams he flies
to heaven and sees the goddess Inana. A lion beneath her throne
growls at him. When Etana approaches, the lion roars and leaps
out at him. He wakes up. The workshop felt the excitement as they
followed his adventures and learnt with Gilgamesh the lesson of
the Flood Story.
Etana tells his dream to the eagle. The eagle
again takes Etana up to heaven on his back. They reach the gates
of heaven… This is where the
text of the clay tablets breaks off. No fragment has been found
that tells what happened at the end of the story. But we know
from the Sumerian king lists that Etana probably had a son named
Balih, so we can guess the story had a happy ending.