The scroll was unevenly rolled and secured by a wrapping tie when Fred found it. The container that held it seemed to be some type of leather. There were no specific markings to identify who or where it came from that he could see. It appeared old, but was in fairly good condition. The edges of the scroll were not tattered or torn, but were yellowed. He carefully unrolled it and saw that the writing was still legible, but not written in a language or script he understood. He pondered as to what language it could be and what its message would read.
He wondered who would be able to read it. Did he need some scholar, an archaeologist who could read ancient hieroglyphics? Did he need to find someone at the local university or would he have to search further. He himself was educated, but this was a far cry from his training of teaching math at the middle school. He knew it must have been important enough for someone to even write it and then preserve it in such a manner.
He began his search at the college library. He wanted to see if there were any similar writings in their special historical references. His search there revealed nothing. He then went to the archaeology department and consulted with the professors there. They were not familiar with the writing and directed him to the larger state university where they specialized in ancient writings. They offered to take it from him and forward it there, but he decided against it and would take it himself. He was now on a quest to find the truth of this important find.
He rose early the next morning and drove the 75 miles to the university to consult with their professors. They were unable to read the manuscript and therefore could not determine its message. They directed him to the state historical office where there were people with a broader knowledge of ancient writings.
It was still early in the day and he decided to travel the 10 miles to the state office. When he arrived, he gathered the scroll and began walking up the mountainous stairs to the building. The day was hot and he stopped at the top of the stairs and sat down on a bench to rest before going in. A little man with a long gray beard sat on the other end and looked at him curiously with his package.
“What have you got there?” the man said.
“Just something I found.” Fred replied.
“May I see it?” asked the little man.
Fred thought for a moment. The man looked harmless. He was dressed in a gray uniform and Fred surmised he was a janitor. Fred thought he would not know what it was, but allowed him to see it anyway. The man looked at the writing. He did not seem perplexed at all, but his eyes widened and he seemed to be reading the scroll.
“Do you know what it says?” Fred asked in amazement.
“Oh sure.” The man said in a convincing tone. “It’s old, but still legible. These are the Ten Commandments.”
“The Ten Commandments?” Fred repeated his words in astonishment.
“Ancient Hebrew, but that’s what it is. I studied it for many years. No doubt about it.”
Fred quickly gathered his belongings and the scroll and then began to walk down the steps.
“Aren’t you going in the building?” the man asked.
“No.” Fred said disappointedly. “I was trying to find out the meaning of this scroll. If this is truly the Ten Commandments, I know they are not allowed here.”
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