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on the edge of the great sea. At sight of Gilgamesh, clad in a animal skin, with matted hair and weathered face, Siduri thought that he must be maniac or worse. Being wary, she shut the gate and barred the door. Gilgamesh, wasn’t phased, he raised his staff, knocked on the door and threatened to break it down! Siduri, the enchanting maiden of the gods, questioned his dreadful appearance and asked, why he had such evil in his heart and sadness in his gut. Gilgamesh again recounted his journey. He spoke of the death of Enkindu and of his quest to meet UtaNapishtim, the one who lives in the paradise, garden of the sun. She told him, that: “it is impossible to get there. The way is treacherous and even if you do reach the other side, you will still have to cross the marshy waters of death”. No matter how much she pleaded, the Goddess Siduri could not convince Gilgamesh to abandon his journey and return home. He would not relent, and taking pity on him, agreed to help. She told to Gilgamesh find the boatman Urshanabi, who with the help of magic tokens can cross the great sea and even the waters of death. Gilgamesh found Urshanabi as he was gathering the magical talismans in the forest of snakes. Gilgamesh took him by surprise and landed a blow across his head. As they fought all havoc broke loose. Many of the serpents vanished and the talismans broken. Urshanabi was defeated, and Gilgamesh demanded his help across the sea and over the waters of death. Urshanabi explained, that: “by destroying the talismans and killing the snakes you hindered our crossing. The only chance you have is to cut twelve, giant poles (sixty cubits) from the forest, socket them, coat them with bitumen and bring them to the boat”. Gilgamesh raised his axe, pulled the dagger from his belt and went off into the forest to gather the poles. When he had finished he loaded them onto Urshanabi’s boat and they set out across the great sea. After a voyage of three days, that would normally have taken a month and fifteen days, they arrived at the marshy waters of death. Gilgamesh put the first of the twelve punting poles into the water, and began to push the boat along its course. Urshanabi, warned him not to touch the water or he would surely die. Gilgamesh heaved until the first, second and all twelve poles had been worn down to nothing. Yet there was still farther to go before they could land safely on shore. Gilgamesh stripped the animal skin from his

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The Flower of Bliss  

Part one of the Temple of Paradise Trilogy

The Flower of Bliss  

Part one of the Temple of Paradise Trilogy

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