Debate between Winter and Summer
The Debate between Winter and Summer or Myth of Emesh and Enten is a Sumerian creation myth and disputation, written on clay tablets in the mid to late 3rd millennium BCE. The story takes the form of a contest poem between the fertility deities Enten (Winter) and Emesh (Summer).
- An lifted his head in pride and brought forth a good day. ... Enlil set his foot upon the earth like a great bull. Enlil, the king of all lands, set his mind to increasing the good day of abundance, to making the night resplendent in celebration, to making flax grow, to making barley proliferate, to guaranteeing the spring floods at the quay, to making lengthen their days in abundance, to making Emesh close the sluices of heaven, and to making Enten guarantee plentiful water at the quay.
- By hand Enten guided the spring floods, the abundance and life of the Land, down from the edge of the hills. He set his foot upon the Tigris and Euphrates like a big bull and released them into the fields and fruitful acres of Enlil. He shaped lagoons in the water of the sea. He let fish and birds together come into existence by the sea.
- Holy Enten … made Ezina appear radiant as a beautiful maiden. The harvest, the great festival of Enlil, rose heavenward.
- Emesh founded houses and farmsteads, he made the cattle-pens and sheepfolds wide. He multiplied the stacks of sheaves in all the arable tracts. ... He brought a plentiful harvest into the temples, he heaped up piles of grain. He founded towns and villages, he built the houses of the Land. He made the houses of the gods grow like the hills in a pure place. In E-namtila, the holy seat of kingship, fit for high daises, he established abundance for the Great Mountain (Kur) Enlil.
- Enten is controller of the life-giving waters of all the lands -- the farmer of the gods produces everything. Emesh, my son, how can you compare yourself to your brother Enten?
- Emesh bowed to Enten and offered him a prayer. In his house he prepared emmer-beer and wine. At its side they spend the day at a succulent banquet. Emesh presents Enten with gold, silver and lapis lazuli. They pour out brotherhood and friendship like best oil. By bringing sweet words to the quarrel they have achieved harmony with each other.
- Tirelessly and constantly I place abundance upon the fields.
- Enten, you should not boast about your superior strength after you have explained the grounds for your boasting. … Don't speak with a gaping mouth of your superior strength -- I will make known its shape and essence.
- Enlil, your verdict is highly valued, your holy word is an exalted word. The verdict you pronounce is one which cannot be altered -- who can change it? There was quarrelling of brother with brother but now there is harmony. For as long as you are occupying the palace, the people will express awe. When it is your season, far be it from me to humiliate you -- in fact I shall praise you.
- Emesh, my brother, you should not praise yourself; whatever harvest produce you bring as gifts to the palace has not been made by your toil: you should not brag. As if you were the one who had done the hard work, as if you had done the farming.
- The slave Emesh, the duly-appointed labourer who will never rest from his toil, a hired man who has to return to the fields of the Land for his own sustenance.
- Emesh, my brother, … although you have gathered all things in the Land and filled the storehouses, in all my strength I am their owner when your limbs become tired.