Through a hunter, Eabani and Gilgamesh are brought together, but instead of becoming rivals, they are joined in friendship. Eabani is induced by the snares of a maiden to abandon his life with the animals and to proceed to Erech, where Gilgamesh, who has been told in several dreams of the coming of Eabani, awaits him.
Equally certain is a second observation of a general character that the epic originating as the greater portion of the literature in Assur-bani-pal's collection in Babylonia is a composite product, that is to say, it consists of a number of independent stories or myths originating at different times, and united to form a continuous narrative with Gilgamesh as the central figure.
The basis of the 6th tablet is the familiar nature-myth of the change of seasons, in which Gilgamesh plays the part of the youthful solar god of the springtime, who is wooed by the goddess of fertility, Ishtar.
The old Babylonian hero Gilgamesh and the Egyptian Bes (perhaps of foreign extraction) are nude, and so in general are the figurines of the Ishtar-Astarte type.
In the 3rd tablet, very imperfectly preserved, Gilgamesh appeals through a Shamash priestess Rimat-Belit to the sun-god Shamash for his aid in the proposed undertaking.
In the 12th tablet Gilgamesh succeeds in obtaining a view of Eabani's shade, and learns through him of the sad fate endured by the dead.
At first, indeed, Eabani curses the fate which led him away from his former life, and Gilgamesh is represented as bewailing Eabani's dissatisfaction.
Downward the eagle and his burden fell, and in the epic of Gilgamesh we find Etana in the nether world.
While the existence of such a personage as Gilgamesh may be admitted, he belongs to an age that could only have preserved a dim recollection of his achievements and adventures through oral traditions.
This adventure against Khumbaba belongs to the Eabani stratum of the epic, into which Gilgamesh is artificially introduced.