GILGAMESH – THE FIRST RECORDED GHOST STORY

GILGAMESH – THE FIRST RECORDED GHOST STORY

  • The Epic of Gilgamesh – Tablets 11-12
  • Gilgamesh is overcome with the death of his friend Enkidu – so he sets out on a series of journeys to search for his ancestor Utnapishtim.
  • Gilgamesh finds Utnapishtim – who lives at the mouth of the rivers and has been given eternal life because he survived a Noah’s Ark-like flood.
  • Utnapishtim counsels Gilgamesh to abandon his search for immortality but tells him about a plant that can make him young again.
  • Gilgamesh obtains the plant from the bottom of the sea in Dilmun (current day Bahrain) but a serpent steals it.
  • Gilgamesh returns home to the city of Urukhaving abandoned hope of either immortality or renewed youth — but, then he finds out that all he has to do is to stay awake for six days and seven nights.
  • He fails at this quest and falls asleep.
  • Out of this the ghost of Enkidu rose “like a wind” — and the two friends embraced again.
  • Gilgamish at once questions the ghost about the condition of the dead, but Enkidu does not answer.
  • Enkidu knew that what he must reveal would only cause his friend Gilgamesh sorrow.

 

Of all ghosts, the ghosts of our old loves are the worst.

― Arthur Conan Doyle

 

The ghosts you chase you never catch.

― John Malkovich

 

Well. I don’t suppose you have to believe in ghosts to know that we are all haunted, all of us, by things we can see and feel and guess at, and many more things that we can’t.

― Beth Gutcheon

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