Ancient existential crisis

I read a great little Akkadian parable over lunch.  It is titled (by the translators), “A Pessimistic Dialogue between Master and Servant.”  It has twelve short sections.  Each of the first eleven have the same form.

Master: Servant, Obey me.
Servant: Yes, my lord, yes.

This is followed by a statement of the master like I will love a woman  or I will help my neighbour to which the servant agrees stating what is good about such a choice.  Then the master changes his mind stating I will not love, help, etc.   The servant again agrees stating what is good about that choice.  I thought this repetition would just sort of fizzle out at the end but here is the final section,

Servant, obey me.
Yes, my lord, yes.
Now what is good?  To break my neck, your neck, throw both into the river – that is good.
Who is tall enough to ascend to heaven? Who is broad enough to embrace the earth?
No servant, I shall kill you, and send you ahead of me.
Then would my lord wish to live even three days after me?


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