Here, having defeated the bull, he takes on the monster Humbaba, whose mouth is fire, whose breath is death
royal museum of Belgium, dating to between 2250 and 1900 BCE.
Gilgamesh is one of my favorite traditional stories because of the way it combines adventure with lessons about fate. My favorite part is the conclusion, when Ishtar explains that Gilgamesh's quest for immortality was futile:
O Gilgamesh, whither do you fare?
The life you seek, you will not find.
When the gods created man,
They apportioned death to mankind;
And retained life to themselves.
O Gilgamesh, fill you belly,
Make merry, day and night;
Make of each day a festival of joy,
Dance and play, day and night!
Let your raiment be kept clean,
Your head washed, body bathed.
Pay heed to the little one, holding onto your hand;
Let your wife delight your heart.
For in this is the portion of man.