in the depth of the great abyss there is a certain hot fiery
named Lilith, who at first cohabitated with man. For when man
created and his body completed, a thousand spirits from the
assembled around that body, each endeavouring to enter, until
a cloud descended and drove them away and God said: 'Let the
bring forth a living soul' (Genesis 1:24) and it then brought
spirit to breathe into man, who thus became complete with two
it says, 'And he breathed in his
nostrils the breath of life, and the
became a living soul', and the holy spirit in him spread to each
perfecting itself. Afterwards God
sawed the man in two and
his female and brought her to him like a bride to the
Lilith saw this she fled, and she is still in the cities of the
trying to snare mankind.
(Zohar III 19a)
morning I was sleeping late in the cool darkness of my cave. Someone was calling my name,
"Lilith! Lilith! Wake up."
I opened my eyes and looked towards the entrance of the cave. Backlit by the bright sunlight I could
just about distinguish the blurred shapes of three winged creatures.
"Go away," I moaned, "I'm
"Lilith, wake up. We need to speak
I couldn't fathom which of the
heavenly visitors were speaking, perhaps it was all three in unison.
"Leave me alone" I cried. "Please go away."
"Not until we've spoken," they
answered. "We've been sent by He
Who Must Be Obeyed. We have a
message for you."
"Well, tell He Who Must Be Obeyed
that if He's got something to say, He should tell me Himself, not send rotten
I recognised their voices. Senoy, Sansenoy and Semangelof. I'd known them all since the beginning
of Time. Senoy was the captain of
this grisly gang, the other two were his slimy sidekicks. I felt embarrassed that my cave was such
a mess and wished I'd known that they were coming today. I had half-expected a visitation of this
sort ever since I'd freaked out on Adam, but I wasn't sure if I was ready for it
exit had been very dramatic. Lots
of steam and a hell-raising, ear-piercing scream. Adam hadn't realised that I could still
fly. He thought my wings had been
clipped and when I flew out of the Garden in a cloud of chaos, he had looked on,
"Oh heck, I suppose there's no
peace till I've sorted you out. Have a hover in the yard. I'll be out in a few
They disappeared from view. I got out of bed, plumped up my pillow
of softest duck down and straightened the covers. I washed and put on my red velvet
gown. Then I carefully applied kohl
to my eyelids and tried to do something with my raven black hair, disgracefully
dishevelled by the night. I stood
in front of the mirror, my only trustworthy companion during these past lonely
months, and combed out the tangles.
I took a last smouldering look at my own reflection and went out to join
the winged triad.
got a fire going and were pounding coffee beans. The morning sun warmed me, but I had to
squint as I looked across the rocky wilderness. Several days had passed since I had last
ventured out. There had been a
vicious sand storm in the night and now I could see how much havoc it had
wreaked. The logs I used for
bolsters were scattered and as I started to put them back into order, I wondered
if the three goons would help. Then
I saw my cotton rugs, crouching behind a giant boulder which had served to stop
the wind from stealing them. Senoy
and Sansenoy helped me shake out the brightly coloured rugs and lay them over
the logs now arranged into a square around the fire.
"So what does the Big Boss want?"
I asked, scathingly.
"Peace and harmony amongst all His
children. That's all, Lilith. That's all." Senoy tried to sound like a practised
"Bollocks," I retorted. "You know full well that what He wants
is for Adam to become strong and powerful so that he can govern the Master's
little paradise. To become in many
ways - but not quite - as mighty as Himself. And I'm supposed to volunteer for target
practices. No way, JosJ. I'm outta there."
"Oh come on, Lilith. You're such a kvetch." said
"You've always been a Moaning
Minnie." added Semangelof, unhelpfully.
"Like when?" I replied,
indignantly. I could feel hot anger
surging like lava through my spine.
Semangelof had always been so irritating. I could never understand why Senoy and
Sansenoy tolerated his company.
"Like the time you wanted to join
our football team," he offered. The
other angels started to snigger.
"You said it wasn't fair that female spirits weren't allowed to play, so
we had to humour you. You puffed
and panted across the field and collapsed in a heap at half-time. And when we kicked the ball towards you,
you flew in the opposite direction.
A one-winged bat could have done a better job."
With this, all three started to
flap their wings and guffaw with laughter.
I cringed as I remembered that terrible afternoon of
Senoy composed himself. "Seriously, Lilith, the Boss says you've
got to go back and sort it out with Adam.
The poor bloke is in an awful stew.
Doesn't know what he's done wrong."
"I can't go back. It was horrible." I shuddered as I remembered how Adam had
put me down all the time, criticised my appearance, even complained about my
cooking, while he strutted about as if he owned the place. The only time we ever enjoyed peace and
harmony was when I complimented him on the size of the luckless creature he'd
slaughtered for supper, which I was supposed to skin, gut and make edible and
then serve with a glass of wine. Or
if I joined him in the worship of his fabulous phallus, which was the focus of
endless fascination for Adam and the source of his greatest pleasure. He would lie in his hammock all day
long, dick in his hand, wittering away about the Sun and the stars. His favourite game was making up names
for all the birds and the beasts, but if ever I tried to join in, he would
dismiss my suggestions as irrelevant.
Until a couple of days later, when he would invariably quote me as if they had been his ideas
in the first place. All the time
droning on about how lonely it was being the only intelligent creature in the
"He was a vile specimen of
humanity and he was squashing me flat."
I bit my tongue to stop the tear that was pricking my eye. I didn't want the angels to think me
weak or undignified.
The coffee was boiling. I poured it into little china cups and
passed them to my guests.
Senoy cocked his head to one side
and replied: "There are two sides
to every story, Lilith. Adam says
that you were always flying off the handle with no provocation and that once you
even threw a bowl of hot goulash at him.
He says you were a dangerous liability. That you have this uncanny way of
reading his mind which is really irritating and that you were always trying to
make him feel guilty so you could trap him into doing things he didn't want to
do. Like having sex with you, for
"Is that what you all think of
me?" I asked, earnestly. "Tell me,
is that why none of you ever made a pass at me?"
There was a hushed silence. Then Sansenoy tried to answer my pitiful
question. "Actually, Lilith, all
the other spirits were rather intimidated by you. You were very original and funny. Sexy too. But too much of a challenge."
"Such a free-spirit and so fiery."
"Too exotic for me" added the
I shuddered at the prospect of
Semangelof's seduction technique, but then a rush of truth washed over me. For so long I had felt inadequate and
undesired, and now I understood that these pathetic characters, so eager to show
off their puny biceps and triceps, had feared that they would fail to tame my
wild spirit. Still, I was a little
disappointed that none had ever tried. And perhaps I'd always been
afraid that if ever the fires raging inside me were quenched, I might drown
instead. Was that what had
frightened me about Adam? That he
was trying to conquer and crush me too?
No, I reflected. Even worse
was that Adam didn't seem to have any respect for me at all and had made me
doubt my own worth too. The last
straw had been when I caught him shagging one of our sheep. I was so disgusted. How could I go near his vile ding-dong
after that? Who knows what I might
catch? And besides, if a sheep
could tickle his fancy, then maybe he found me no more alluring than a raw lamb
But I could hardly share this
salacious story with my visitors.
It was just the sort of gossip that would spread through the heavens like
"Listen, Lilith," Senoy continued,
"here's the bottom line. If you
don't return to Adam, you're damned to a really rotten time. Floods, famines and pestilence. All that sort of stuff. Meanwhile the earth will fill with the
sons of Adam and you're going to miss the show and there' s no one to blame but
"I am a creature of the Deep," I
announced, "and I'm sure I can weather a silly storm or two. And if the sons of Adam are anything
like their father, I'd prefer to hang out here on my own. Collecting shells, tending my herb
garden, and thinking up stories and songs."
"What's the point of telling
stories if there's no one around to hear what you have to say?" Senoy asked with a measure of
mean-spiritedness in his voice. "Oh
hail, great Queen of the Wilderness.
With only bad spirits and beasts of prey for company and nothing but
rocks for your subjects, you'll soon run out of plots for your stories and then
things will get dull, dull, dull."
In my heart I knew he was right,
but still I needed my dignity restored.
"Okay, take this message to the
Master. Tell Him I'll go back to
Adam only if he agrees to my terms and conditions."
"And what might they be?" asked
the angels in unison.
"Got a pen?" said
Sansenoy pulled a quill from his
feathered wing and handed it to Senoy who began to scribble on a sheet of
"Firstly, that he should stop
acting like a macho git when I'm around.
And not try to squash me because he won't get much fun out of a
doormat. Got that?" I paused to let Senoy catch up. "I don't need precious rocks or fancy
frocks - well, not that many and only from time to time - but I do need to know
that he loves and honours me and then there will be peace in our tent. He can make full use of my wisdom
and wit, but he has to accept that I have dreams of my own
"That's all?" asked Semangelof,
"And lastly, this. Tell him that our sheep are to be
skewered only when they're basting on a hot barbeque!"
"What does Adam get in return?"
asked Senoy with caution.
"He gets me. His muse to amuse. And my undying loyalty and
"But Lilith, how can he assert
dominion over all the fish in the sea, all the birds and the beasts and the
insects too, if he can't make you submit to him too?"
"Now that," I concluded "is his
problem, not mine."
so I sat in my cave by the shores of the Red Sea, with the company only of bad
spirits and a bunch of beasts of prey, tending my herb garden, telling my
stories and waiting, patiently, to hear what Adam had to
went by and I heard nothing. I
could resist the temptation no longer.
I flew back to the Garden of Eden and found Adam lying in his hammock
with a ram's horn by his side. I
transformed into a serpent, with shining scales of emerald green and slithered
up the trunk of the tree on which his hammock was slung. As I crawled closer, I felt almost
swollen with compassion for this brute, ravaged by his own teeming insecurity,
and I convinced myself that I was willing to give it another
"This is Lilith" I hissed. "Are you missing
Adam growled menacingly and his
dark brown eyes were shining with rage.
"Why should I miss you, you scaly
witch? You're just a waste of
space. You mean nothing to
I ignored his greeting and
continued: "Did our heavenly hosts
deliver my message? I thought it
might have got lost in the celestial post."
"Why do you have to go telling
everybody our business, bitch? You
make me so mad. I never want to see
your ugly face again."
"Is that all you have to
"As far as I'm concerned, you are
redundant and repulsive. And if you
want my respect, you'll have to earn it.
You're too fragile for me.
"You think you're so magnificent,
Adam, but it's going to be mighty lonely on your own."
"Who's on their own? There are plenty of dames to take your
Adam pointed towards a nearby
waterfall. I looked over and saw
Eve bathing in its gentle cascade.
Shit. I hadn't anticipated
this. A strawberry blonde from
bimbo city, but her curves were in all the right places. It seemed so unfair. How did he find another mate so
"You know something?" I retorted
venomously. "You're a bully and an
inconsiderate, vicious pig. I never
want to have anything to do with you again."
by the audacity of my own outburst, I recoiled into the long grass, and weaved
my way furiously towards the babbling brook and the dappled light of an apple
tree, heavy with its ripe, luscious fruit.
"Eve," I called. "I'm up here."
"Up where?" Eve said with a
"In the apple
"Oh." She looked up vacantly. "Who are you? How do you know my name?"
"Mine is the voice of wisdom,
Eve. I know all that there is to
know. Eat one of these cool,
crisp apples and you can too." Eve
drew closer. She seemed like a nice
enough chick, but still, you know what they say about a woman scorned. I was salivating in anticipation of the
sweet taste of revenge.
"I can't do that" she protested, "the Boss told us not to
touch the fruit on that
tree. He said it was
"You believe everything that
tyrranical Megalomaniac tells you?
He just wants to keep them all Himself. They're delicious. Come on, Eve, take a
Hesitantly, Eve's hand reached
towards the fruit and plucked it from the tree. I quivered with delight. As I snaked away on my slimy belly, I
could hear her high-pitched, slightly nasal voice, coaxing and cajoling. "Go on Adam, darling. Don't be scared of what the Master
said. He's just a voice inside your
knew that as soon as they crunched into
that sweet, ruby red apple they would be forever cursed with the certain
knowledge that they were only tiny specks in a giant cosmos, an almost
insignificant part of a glorious
infinity, scarcely a breath on the face of eternity, and then they would bow low
with shame at their own impotence and their lack of importance in the overall
scheme of things. They would
glimpse the fragility of their own existence and henceforth, whenever two beings
would meet, one would be impelled to try to submerge the
Then I returned to my wilderness
and the rest, as they say, is history.
Gryn 1997. All rights