Gilgamesh had the plant in his hand; all he had to do was return home. But half-way across the desert an oasis lured him to take his rest. As he slept a serpent smelt the magic plant and ate it from his hand.

copyright Neil Dalrymple

Gilgamesh awoke to see the serpent slithering away, leaving its old dry skin discarded on the sand.

The plant was gone but the realisation had come, ‘it is not for man to live forever’.

About the artists

In August 2006 the museum’s display of two acrylic paintings of the Epic of Gilgamesh by Dez Quarréll was enhanced under the Illuminate programme of NESTA (National Endowment of Science, Technology and the Arts).

The NESTA funded project was entitled Move It, Touch It, Feel The Rhythm & Do It, this element was entitled “Touch It”.

“Touch It” was created in summer 2006 by sculptor Neil Dalrymple, pupils from Thomas Adams School, Wem and storytellers from Mythstories museum.

The pupils looked at Neil’s work.

Then they listened to the story and sketched the ideas it inspired.

Neil Dalrymple took these sketches and created the vitrified clay relief tablets you can see here, and touch when you visit the museum.

Key Stage 2 Activities

Animals And The Way They Look Today

When you’ve read this story you’ll know why snakes shed their skins. Now its your turn to write your own story.

Can you write a story explaining why your favourite animal came to look the way it does today?

Bird’s Eye Views

The sleeping Gilgamesh is seen from above. Can you recognise the objects below when they are seen from a bird’s eye view?

The solutions can be found by clicking + at Answers to Activities at the foot of this post.

O Mother Mine

See lyric…

O Mother mine, spread me the silken sheet,
And let me lie down and cover me with rose leaves.

For love-sick am I, and flames of love consume me.
And if I die tomorrow, Mother, I beseech you

Call round me my comrades, the daughters of love,
And over my bier let them sing me my dirge.

O mother mine, yesterday our secret was our own;
Today who does not know it?

My love has gone far,
And now I would write to him.

If you deny me paper, I’ll write on the wings of birds;
And if ink you deny me, I’ll write with my heart’s blood!

O you, who are climbing the mountain,
A drink will you not give me from the hollow of your hand?

In truth, I am not thirsty,
But I would have a word with you;

And it may be the wind will lift your scarf
And let me look full at your face!

Answers to Activities

Bird’s Eye Views

a teapot
b bottle
c jam jar
d cup & saucer
e plate
f salt cellar
g mug
h pepper pot

expanded by an illuminate project funded by…