Myth of Telepinu

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Telepinu was the god of agriculture of the Hittites, people who lived in the ancient Near East in what is now Syria and Turkey. Like his father the storm god, Telepinu had a quick temper. When he was angry, plants and animals ceased to grow and people suffered. The beginning of the text is broken so we do not know the causes of the god’s anger. The thread of the story is taken up at the point where the rage of Telepinu is described. He is depicted as putting his left shoe on his right foot and his right shoe on his left foot, implying that he was so angry that he did not know what he was doing. Enraged, he stormed off into the countryside. After a while he became tired and lay down in a meadow to sleep. While Telepinu was away, the earth dried up completely. Then we have a description of the effects of his absence: a mist covers the country; all the plants and trees died for lack of water; in the fire-place the logs are stifled; animals and humans stopped giving birth; at the altars the gods are stifled; the sheep neglects its lamb, and the cow neglects its calf; there is drought and famine so that men and gods perish from hunger. The storm-god becomes anxious about his son Telepinu, and the search begins. The storm-god sends out the swift eagle with orders to search every mountain and valley, but the eagle returns unsuccessful. Finally Nintu, the mother goddess, sent a bee to seek the missing god. The other deities thought the plan was crazy. If they could not locate Telepinu, how could a mere bee do so? The storm-god mocks at the idea and says that the Bee is too small to succeed in an enterprise in which the great gods have failed. But the bee searched in places the gods did not think to look and eventually found Telepinu asleep in the meadow. Following Nintu’s instructions, the bee stung Telepinu several times. Although the stings woke the god, they only made him angrier. So the sun god sent the goddess of healing, to soothe Telepinu's temper, and her...
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