‘Gilgamesh, you came here a man wearied out, you have worn yourself out; what shall I give you to carry you back to your own country?’
Utnapishtim said, ‘I shall reveal to you a thing that is hidden, Gilgamesh…
‘It is a mystery of the gods that I am disclosing.
‘There is a plant that grows underwater.
‘It has a prickle like a thorn, like a rose; it will wound your hands, but…
‘If you succeed in taking it, then your hands will hold that which restores his lost youth to a man.
When Gilgamesh heard this he opened the sluices so that a water current might carry him out to the deepest channel. He tied heavy stones to his feet and they dragged him down; to the waterbed they pulled him.
There he saw the boxthorn growing; although it pricked him he took it in his hands.
Then he cut the heavy stones from his feet, and the sea carried him and threw him upon the shore.
Gilgamesh spoke to Urshanabi, the ferryman, saying, ‘Come here, and see this marvelous plant. By its virtue a man may win back all of his former strength.
‘I will take it to Uruk of the strong walls.
‘There I will give it to the old men to eat.
‘Its name shall be ‘The Old Man Again Is Young…’
‘And then I shall eat of it myself…and return, at last, to my lost youth.’