Song of Humbaba


Long have i been here,
guardian of the cedar forest,
home of the gods.
Protector of the trees,
these noble beings,
tall of trunk and long of leaf.

The mother who bore me was a cave in the mountains.

Humbaba am i, defender of mountains!
Humbaba am i, protector of these forests!

These men, they know not of trees
Their color is clay, they stink of fish,
the reeds are their home.
They don not know the ferny glades,
the soft boughs of cedar.
they do not know the humus damp,
the piney scent.

They stink of fish. they know not of trees

They do not know the trees
like i know the trees.

Gilgamesh spoke “I will go the country where the cedar is felled… where no man’s name is written yet
i will raise a monument to the gods….we will go to the forest and destroy the evil; for in the forest lives Humbaba whose name is “Hugeness”, a ferocious giant.”

Enkidu sighed, then spoke “When i ranged with the wild beasts through the wilderness I discovered the forest; its length is ten thousand leagues in every direction. Enlil has appointed Humbaba to guard it and armed him in sevenfold terrors, terrible in all flesh is Humbaba. When he roars it is like the torrent of the storm, his breath is like fire, and his jaws are death itself… Gilgamesh, the watchman of the forest never sleeps.”
– penguin classics edition

His pugnacious mouth is a dragon’s maw; his face is a lion’s grimace. His chest is like a raging flood; no one dare approach (1 ms. has instead: can escape from) his brow, which devours the reed-beds. (2 mss. adds 1 line: A man-eating lion, he never wipes away the blood from his slaver.)
(1 ms. adds instead 5 lines: 1 line fragmentary
…… a lion eating a corpse, he never wipes away the blood
-Version A Gilgamesh and Huwawa ETCSL

“I ……, he vexes (?) me — the warrior whose face is a lion’s grimace, and whose breast is like a raging flood. No one dare approach his brow, which devours the reedbeds.
On his tongue, like that of a man-eating lion, the blood never dries. You do not have enough strength for the warrior, such is his might.”
-Version B

They come, they trick , they cheat , they steal.
They boast, they brag, they chop, they burn.
they come with their axes sharp
and their long daggers of bronze.

Ḫuwawa replied to him: “The mother who bore me was a cave in the mountains. The father who engendered me was a cave in the hills. Utu left me to live all alone in the mountains!”
-version B


the role of the terrors, (the glamors or auras) is confused and Indistinct in my mind.
Gilgamesh uses deceit to trick Humbaba out of his glamours, by offering him his sister for marriage, and shoes for his feet. (civilizing influences). When he has all the glamours, he sucker punches Humbaba, he sneaks up behind him and punches him in his head.

Gilgamesh and enkidu go to repay thier respects to Enlil, … After they had kissed the ground before Enlil, they threw the leather bag down, tipped out his head (Humbabas’)
and placed it before Enlil. When Enlil saw the head of Humbaba, he was angry. “Why did you act this way? Was ist commanded that his name should be wiped from the earth?
He should have sat before you, he should have eaten the bread that you eat, and should have drunk the water that you drink! He should have been honoured….” From his seat,
Enlil assigned Humbabas heavenly auras to…

He gave Humbaba’s first aura to the fields.
He gave his second aura to the rivers.
He gave his third aura to the reed-beds.
He gave his fourth aura to the lions. He gave his fifth aura to the palace (debt slaves?)
He gave his sixth aura to the forests. ( the hills?)
He gave his seventh aura to Nungal (the goddess of prisoners).


The mother who bore me was a cave in the mountains.

Humbaba am i, defender of mountains!
Humbaba am i, protector of these forests!

poplar bowl


I have not been blogging of late. Perhaps if i did not spend all day in front of a computer, i would feel the need to blog more. Here are some pictures of a poplar bowl i finished up last year and gave my loving wife for Christmas, and a spoon in cherry i finished about the same time.





Picture 1 of 3

Ah, the Swedish spreader. For all your applications of fat.These are made from black birch. I direct your attention to the Drew Langsners’ Country Workshops website at where he has described his method for making them and has examples. When i retire, i would like to take a class with Drew. Ah, when i retire.


Here is the one i use to spread my peanut butter at work. I have been carving these from willow i got out on the island. its soft and works fast, and has this beautiful color, perhaps from lying around for a while in the wet before i collected it.