‘Lilith, wake up! You’re snoring.’
‘Huh?’ Lilith rolled over a bit groggily. ‘What do you mean, snoring?’
‘I mean you were going grhaaaphr while you were sleeping; it’s how you were breathing.’
‘But why do you call it snoring?’
‘I don’t know, I just made it up!’
‘Nice word. Now can I get back to sleep?’
‘Okay, but roll over; you’re keeping me awake.’
‘But this dust gets into my nose, that’s why I’m, what do you call it? Oh yes, snoring.’
Adam sighed. This was ridiculous! ‘Lilith, you’re made of dust! Dust can’t make you snore.’
She pouted, quite prettily. ‘Then why do you think I’m snoring if it’s not the dust?’
‘How am I supposed to know? All I know is I’m bombed out from naming animals the whole day and I don’t want you snoring like one. Okay?’
She got up, presenting her prettily dimpled, naked derriere to him. ‘Well, then you can sleep by yourself!’ and off she flounced, even though the word had not yet been invented.
‘Oy vey!’ said Adam, betraying his Jewishness even before there was such a thing as a Jew. This was getting tiresome. She was quite the most wilful being he’d ever known. What was he going to do?
By morning, Lilith had not yet returned and Adam was becoming quite concerned. So much so that he mistakenly misnamed some animals. Where was this blasted woman? Just because he said he was in charge, was no reason for her to stamp her tiny feet and stomp off! He was in charge, God had said so.
Meanwhile, she was wandering further and further out of the garden, until three angels stopped her. ‘And where do you think you’re going?’ one of them asked.
‘Anywhere, as long as it’s away from Adam: he makes me sick!’
‘He’s your husband,’ said the angel mildly. ‘You have to obey him.’
‘I’m not going back there, and I’ll tell you something else: if God makes him another woman, I’ll find her children and kill them!’
The angels looked at each other and, without a word, rushed her and pinned her to the ground. ‘We’re going to have to imprison you for all eternity if you do that,’ their leader said.
‘Okay, I’ll tell you what,’ she said. 'If a mother hangs an amulet around the child’s neck with an image of you three, I won’t harm the child. I’ll just howl like a wolf and terrify children and mothers alike.’
The angels let her get up. She dusted herself off. ‘Well, I’m off and out of this garden, and if I don’t ever see another man, it’ll be too soon!’
And so was born Women’s Liberation, way before bras and their burning. Way before Germaine Greer and all the other host of feminists down the years…
‘Now you wait a goldarn minute! That ain’t true!’
Hiram looked up fum the book he wus readin’. ‘I din’ say it wus true, it’s whut some folks b’lieve!’
‘But that’s jes plain dumb! It’s there in the Bible, Adam and Eve! I never heerd tell a no Lilith,’ said Abner stubbornly.
‘I’m jes sayin’ some folks b’lieve it, but I know it ain’t true, cause I know where they get it fum.’
‘Yeah?’ said Abner. He was still riled, you could tell, an’ when he got riled, it took him a long while t’ come down agin.
‘Y’see, them there Assyrians, they had themselves a demon goddess called Lilith, an’ some folks thank she wus Adam’s fust wife, an’ she wus made fum dust, same as him, instead of fum his rib, like Eve. Isaiah talks about her some, but that wus on’y about five hunnert and forty years before Jesus come along, so it ain’t in the Bible’
‘Then why do some folks thank it is?’ asked Buford.
Hiram turned to him, real patient like, and said. ‘Nobuddy b’lieves it’s in the Bible, Buford, but them folks whut don’t b’lieve it, they say is should be in there.’
‘How in tarnation kin they say sumpin so dumb? They never writ the Bible!’ Buford wusn’ a man who got riled real quick, but when he got riled, it wus sumpin’ t’see.
‘Yeah, but there’s some Talmudic scholars…’
‘Whut in tarnation is a Talmudic scholar?’ blurted Abner. He wus always goin’ on ‘bout sumpin’ on account of he had hisself some book larnin’.
‘Talmudic scholars are Jewish people who study the ol’ legends of Israel and the like. Anyways, them people upped an’ said that God fust made Lilith fum the dust, same as Adam. They call these here stories ‘midrashes’, on account of they wus legends.’
‘Anyhow, these here scholars thought Lilith wus made fust, but then Adam got so goldarned upset cause she wouldn’ listen t’ him, that he made her so upset, she lef’, then God made Eve fum Adam’s rib.’
‘They also say that Adam wus so riled with Eve for eatin’ that there fruit an’ them bein’ kicked outa the garden an’ all, that he lef’ her, an’ foun’ this other woman, Lilith, but he din’ know she wus a demon, so she kilt all the babies they had. That’s why he done went back to Eve.’
Buford shook his head. ‘That sure is one fine mess, right there.’
‘Y’sure got that right, Buford, you sure got that right. Thang is, them Jewish people din’ b’lieve none a it, but people nowadays, them city folk, they say it’s the real truth, that the Bible is made up and Lilith wus the fust woman, not Eve.’
‘An’ you say them city folks can read better than Abner?’
Hiram nodded, real wise-like. ‘’S’right, they got theirselves eddications an’ all, but it don’ matter nohow, cause dumb is dumb. Don’ matter how you dress it up.’
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