Proto-Flash Fiction From Ancient Summer

The Everyday Loves and Beauty of Inanna—Found in 4,000 year-old Clay Tablets

Inanna Refuses to Surrender a Male Named Shara, Who Is Her Beautician


sings my praises


cuts my nails

combs my hair

I will never give him to you.

Inanna Entices Dumuzi


I will scrub my skin with soap

I will rinse all over with water

I will dry myself with linen

I will lay out mighty love clothes

I know how exactly

I will look so fine

I will make you look like a king

Inanna with Potential Lover Ishullana, a Gardener

[Inanna speaks first]

let us enjoy your strength,

So put out your hand and touch our vulva!”

iii But Ishullanu said to you,

“Me? What do you want of me?

Did my mother not bake for me, and did I not


What I eat (with you) would be loaves of

dishonor and disgrace,

Rushes would be my only covering against the


You listened as he said this,

And you hit him, turned him into a frog (?)


“Inanna Refuses to Surrender a Male Named Shara, Who Is Her Beautician”:

From UNCURSING THE DARK: TREASURES FROM THE UNDERWORLD by Betty De Shong Meador. Copyright 1992. Courtesy of the author and Chiron Publications.

“Inanna Entices Dumuzi”

From INANNA, LADY OF  LARGEST HEART: POEMS OF THE SUMERIAN HIGH PRIESTESS ENHEDUANNA by Betty De Shong Meador. Copyright © 2000. Courtesy of the author and the University of Texas Press.

“Inanna with Potential Lover Ishulana, a Gardener”:

Extract, (10 lines), from p.79 Myths from Mesopotamia: Creation, the Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others Edited and translated with an Introduction and Notes by STEPHANIE DALLEY (1989). By permission of Oxford University Press. PLEASE NOTE: This OUP material is view only and does not come under a Creative Commons license (, or any other open access licence, that would allow reuse without requiring permission from OUP: For permissions, please contact

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