“I will disclose to you a thing that is hidden, Gilgamesh,
a… I will tell you.
There is a plant… like a boxthorn,
whose thorns will prick your hand like a rose.
If your hands reach that plant you will become a young man again.”
Hearing this, Gilgamesh opened a conduit to the Apsu
and attached heavy stones to his feet.
They dragged him down, to the Apsu they pulled him.
He took the plant, though it pricked his hand,
and cut the heavy stones from his feet,
letting the waves throw him onto its shores.
Gilgamesh spoke to Urshanabi, the ferryman, saying:
“Urshanabi, this plant is a plant against decay
by which a man can attain his survival!
I will bring it to Uruk-Haven,
and have an old man eat the plant to test it.
The plant’s name is ‘The Old Man Becomes a Young Man.’
Then I will eat it and return to the condition of my youth.”
Seeing a spring and how cool its waters were,
Gilgamesh went down and was bathing in the water.
A snake smelled the fragrance of the plant,
silently came up and carried off the plant.
While going back it sloughed off its casing.
At that point Gilgamesh sat down, weeping,
his tears streaming over the side of his nose.
- Tablet XI of the Epic of Gilgamesh