The 40 years war was fought between the years 1385-1424 and this was a military conflict fought between the Burmese-speaking Kingdom of Ava and the Mon-speaking Kingdom of Hanthawaddy Pegu. Forget ‘nine months’, the typical pregnancy actually lasts 40 weeks! A full-time work week is 40 hours. Ali Baba had to outwit 40 thieves in the classic tale, Arabian Nights. 40 is widely considered entry into middle age. It took chemists 40 attempts to develop the magical spray known as WD-40. It takes Venus 40 years to cross our sky and return to its starting point. The number 40 is a pentagonal pyramidal number. Russian folklore says that ghosts hang around for 40 days after death. The word ‘forty’ is the only number in the English language that is in alphabetical order when spelled out. According to an ancient proverb, “to understand a people, you must live among them for 40 days.” Ireland is said to have 40 shades of green which includes the Emerald Isle, the shamrock, the ‘Wearing of the Green’, and 37 other shades.
Many scholars and theologians believe that the Biblical tales of Creation, of Adam and Eve, the Garden of Eden, the flood and the Tower of Babel were based on texts written by Sumerians in Mesopotamia a millennia earlier. Enki is the Sumerian god of water, knowledge, mischief, crafts, and creation whose cult spread throughout Mesopotamia and to the Canaanites and Hittites. His sole mission was to create men and to encourage other deities to believe in them. He was sometimes referred to in writing by the number ‘40’, which became his sacred number. Sumerian texts about Enki often include overtly sexual portrayals of his virile masculinity. He helped mankind escape the flood sent by the other gods to destroy them.
The 10th tablet of the “Lost Book of Enki”, which is inscribed on cuneiform tablets accurately describes the Great Flood that occurred as Nibiru a highly disruptive, huge planetoid neared Earth. A Sumerian Noah named Utnapishtim who is also a character in the Epic of Gilgamesh is tasked by Enki to abandon his worldly possessions and create a giant ship to be called Preserver of Life. Nibiru caused a global warming and a series of cataclysms, the melting of ice sheets causing a mega tsunami shaking the earth as the day darkened and the moon seemed devoured by a monster. In the dark lights of dawn, all was veiled by the shadow of death, then a clap of thunder sounded and the sky was streaked with lightning. The flood gates opened and even the mountain peaks shook on their foundations while the Earth broke like an eggshell. A gigantic tidal wave rose and the sky became a wall of water. A storm of a ferocity unknown terrorized the Earth. A cyclone carried away the rivers of water till everything was submerged and all the people were carried away as the land disappeared. Pouring rain fell for 40 days and 40 nights.
Written for Reena Saxena Experiments in Creative Writing, and more Exploration Challenge Week 40 where we are to write about the special significance of the number 40.