This book was assembled by a scholar of language and religion in order to bring together the best collection of the oldest stories known to man. They are older than anything in the Bible, or than Homer, or than the epic poems of India. They were recovered from the ruins of ancient cities and were originally written and told by the Assyrians and Babylonians of Mesopotamia, as well as the Hittites and Canaanites. There are 13 stories in all, some of which the reader will recognize, but others that are rarely or never seen anywhere else. Stories, in their order of appearance, are: The Adventures of Gilgamesh, The War of the Gods, Borrowed Plumes, The Lost Chance, How Toothache Came into the World, The God Who Disappeared, The Monster Made of Stone, The Snaring of the Dragon, Kessi and Huntsman, Master Good and Master Bad, The Heavenly Bow, The King Who Forgot, and The Story of Baal. The author was once the chief of the Hebraic section of the Library of Congress and the first to do a complete translation of the Dead Sea Scriptures in English. An invaluable bonus is that he shares his vast knowledge and expertise after each story with a commentary, including cross-cultural comparisons and a host of other interesting facts. For example, after The Story of Baal he tells us that the main story came from cuneiform tablets in Syria, but its' ending was discovered on a fragment of papyrus in Egypt. This book is essential for those researching the first cultures of mankind or the earliest stories of the gods.