Utnapishtim tells me his story. "You know the city Shurrupak? That's where it happened."
"As you know, Sumerian cities are built on the mud of flood plain, because that's where the good soil is. But how do you build a city on mud? How do you grow crops when most of the year is dry? All Sumerian cities are built on massive networks of dams and irrigation. The first thing you do when creating civilisation is to 'separate the land from the waters'"
"But the people of Shurrupak questioned the gods. And they so numerous, so active and noisy in murmuring against the gods that the gods could no longer sleep easily. They feared that one day these people would rise up and reject their rule! So with Ennugi (the god of canals) and Ea (god of fresh water) they devised a plan to kill everyone in the city, as a warning to others. On a certain night, at the highest point of the annual rains and flooding, they would set fire to all the houses, causing chaos. And destroy all canals and break embankments, so the stored water would crash over the flat land, wash all the houses down the river to the sea, killing everyone."