It all started one summer afternoon on a class field trip to the Alamo. My group was given permission to wander for a bit right after we ate a quick lunch. The Alamo today is like any other museum, with archaic artifacts and souvenirs, and tourists from all over the world. I spotted a man who was wearing odd clothes like those you see in the movies when an archaeologist comes out. He was a middle aged and was sun burnt to the extent that it seemed almost comical. I noticed that he was reading a book, a book that I could tell did not originate from the souvenir shop, given that in the cover it showed Egyptian symbols. I asked him what it was, and he said that it’s the book of the dead.
“It must be very interesting, isn’t it? I imagine it’s at least a few thousand years old,” I said.
“Yes, it is very ancient, and I say that it is just like the Bible. It tells you the difference between right and wrong, it tells you about the afterlife, and so I think that it’s just as valid as any other holy book,” he said.
His words sparked in me a curiosity to look into not only the Egyptian Book of the Dead, but also the Tibetan one, or any other that the world has, in the hopes of finding similarities. I excused myself and continued walking around the old mission, not wanting to use up all my free time in this field trip on things that I could look into later. But as luck would have it, I ran into another ancient book while I was browsing around. “Oh look, this has Mayan symbols, with an abundance of skulls drawn all over. Could it be that it is their book of the dead?” I asked myself.
I decided to take the book over to the strange man before he left, and I asked him if he knew anything of it.
“That is actually an Aztec Codex. I do not know what it says, but it looks like there’s a Spanish language translation on the margins.” He said.
“Hurry up, we’re leaving!” A friend yelled out to me.
“Coming!” I said. I thanked the man and, and after I paid for the book at the cash register, ran back to my group.
Back at my house, I took extra measures to protect the codex. My house has as many dogs as people, so I held my treasure high as I walked in the door, to avoid any damage as my dogs greeted me. I wish I had cats instead. The reason I prefer cats is because they don’t slobber all over you like dogs do, but since fate conspires to give me my second best choice in everything, I live with three dogs. Two of them are huge and could tackle me down if they wanted, and one of them is so small, and yet so loud. After an onslaught from happy, drooling dogs, I managed to enter my room with my book safe and dry, though the same could not be said of my shirt and sleeves.
I opened the book and noticed the Spanish words written in the margins. I can speak, read, and write Spanish as well as anyone else of Latin American origins, but these words, gosh, these words were written by what must’ve been the Spanish equivalent of Shakespeare, or Beowulf. I could only understand a few words, mainly the articles, but it’s a miracle that I got even that, since the handwriting must’ve been written by a medieval doctor writing a prescription from what I could see, it was such an illegible spectacle.
(to be continued…)