Wordcarpenter Books

Chapter Forty-two 


Which concerns the initial deciphering of the discovery at St Claire's Monastery

and the need to go to the Ganges River

Srinagar, Kashmir Valley, Jammu & Kashmir Province


Back in the houseboat, Hellmantle promptly took out the black stone and placed it on the table. He even closed the door to the boat. With his Swiss Army knife on the table, he rubbed his beard and pondered how the stone might fit into the new theory of the story of Jesus.

"His bones being in Srinagar, and thus not in the place where millions believed He is, I think is important. But depending on what these stones say, it may be a whole different ballgame." He began to scrape at the hole with his knife.

"Careful soldier. It's dried mud that flakes off like sand."

"But there is a wax that has hardened." He placed the stone between his knees and put some elbow grease into it, applying enough force to remove little bits. When scraped off, the wax was almost translucent as if a type of amber.

"You can see through the flakes." Hellmantle worked the knife into the hole over a centimeter when the knife penetrated the wax.

"It's open!" he said. Hellmantle drank his Elephant beer in an effort to calm his nerves at the task at hand, and then used the hole to pry it open, bending his knife a few degrees in the process. But a large chunk of the wax flung out of the hole. He fingered it. It was very dry.

"Yes! I can feel something. It feels like...soft leather." He used his fingernails to clean around the hole and then placed the black stone on the table again.

"You ready padre?" he said to D'Aqs, opening another Elephant beer. Hellmantle leaned back to operate. Reaching in the hole he couldn't get a good grip.

"Wait, let me use this." He pulled out the tweezers in his Swiss Army knife. This time he was able to get a firm grip. He slowly pulled out an animal membrane weighted with something inside it.

"What is that?"          

        "Animal membrane I think." Hellmantle was laughing. "To keep it dry. It's brittle, but the membrane has dried." It slipped off without friction.

        "It's a...; it's a scroll!" Hellmantle was now laughing hard. "It has been preserved somehow but I'm afraid I will tear it because I'm laughing."

"Then stop laughing."

"I can't help it." He placed the rolled scroll on the table and they both stared at it. Hellmantle breathed deeply. Some small petals of a flower were on the tabletop beside the papyrus.

        "Preservatives I bet."

        "My heart is beating like a race horse," said Hellmantle. "And it's March 1st. It's all so...; so destined."

        "It looks fragile."

"It's made on papyrus. I can't believe how durable this stuff is! Ummm, this is a scroll from Jesus the Prophet, man." More laughter came like he had turned into a child again.

"Okay then, let's read it as if it's not such a big deal. If we regard it as a divine piece from the hand of the Son of God, then we'll never open it."

"You're right." Hellmantle staring at it, eyes wide open.

"I am right."

"Or we could look at it as just another treasure found in the pursuit of truth? It all depends on how you look at it." Hellmantle's laughter balanced out. "Employing divine grace to have found it has been a holy affair."

"I can see writing," said D'Aqs. They looked closer and saw handwriting.

"Let me see if I can open the first page," taking the top corner between his fingertips. "It's thin, much thinner than the map." He unraveled it off slowly. The papyrus creaked but didn't break.

"What language is it?"

"Looks like Aramaic again but a little different. With some elaborate swirls in the handwriting. Let's get Abid."

"I'll get him," D'Aqs offered.

When he was gone, Hellmantle started to think about the enormity of what he was faced with: the words of Jesus published in the 21st century alongside the words of Mohammad in the same book with the same message, both men being equal under God's eyes, both being prophets and spokesmen for God's will, both kneeling before God, everyone's one God, uniting mankind and beginning a new point of worship in a one-world religion. Again Hellmantle spoke directly to God:

"And the greatest discovery will be that the words of Jesus match verbatim mutual parts of the Koran and the Bible. And the Jews too, they should unite under Jesus' words in the scroll because they are part of the royal bloodline of King David and King Solomon. It is a common brotherhood."

D'Aqs returned. Abid's eyes were red as ochre. Hellmantle had put the black stone under the table so he didn't know where the scroll had come from.

"Abid, we need to see a holy man," he said. Abid eyed the membrane and the scroll on the table.

        "Holy man? You mean Christian?"

        "No. What I mean is we need to find a holy man who knows languages and about religious history." Abid looked at the scroll again.

        "What is this?" 

        "It's a document we have. We're researchers." His eyes believed us but Abid's curiosity wanted to doubt it. He reached for the scroll.

        "Easy with that cowboy," said Hellmantle. "We think it's written in Aramaic." Abid took the scroll into his hands.

        "It's a valuable piece."

        "What does it say?" Abid ran his finger along the first line.

        "It's ancient Aramaic. I know it."

        "Read it!"

        "It says ‘Jesus the Prophet.'"

The hair on the back of Hellmantle's neck stood on end. D'Aqs could hear the water licking the side of the boat and felt the water under the wood. Moisture seeped into the marrow of his shinbones and up his femurs. D'Aqs felt chilled but sweat appeared along his forehead and upper lip.

Abid held it out wider to read, but he could only open it halfway before he feared the paper would crack.

        "Yes, I can see. It is written in old Arabic. No, I cannot read. I can read ‘Jesus' and ‘prophet' because these are known old words in the language still used today that I see as a religious man in India. If you know something about religion then you would know these words. But the rest-"

        "You can't read?"

        "No. The only place you can find such a man is at the Ganges."

        "Of course!" said Hellmantle. "The mighty Ganges! Where else would there be a holy man in India? I must have sunstroke. Why didn't I think of that?"

        "Is there a particular holy spot along the Ganges?"

        "Varanasi is famous," Abid replied, "but it is dirty there. There is Hardiwar, where there are many holy men. It is good because the water is clean. Very close to the mountains."

        "Oh, I don't know if I want to deal with Varanasi," said Hellmantle. "Hardiwar is clean and north of Delhi."

"The water is clean from the Himalayas. It is mountain water, but it's cold."

        "Have you ever taken a dip in the Ganges, Abid?" His eyes opened wider and a lazy pride heavied his eyelids.

        "Yes, I have cleansed there. It was very good. I go when I can go. It is medicine for the soul we say." Hellmantle located Hardiwar on the map.

        "Yes, I see it. Right on the Ganges, yes."

        "If we want to go to the Ganges, then we'll need to fly back to Delhi," said Hellmantle.

"Well I don't really think I want to endure another long bus ride."

        "All right. Let's go to the mighty Ganges by taxi." Abid nodded.

"I will arrange for it," he said. He stood up to leave but stopped, and then spoke to the cousins:

"Mr. Hellmantle," he said, now a bit serious. "You know Thomas was known as ‘Judas Thomas' here in Kashmir?"

        "Judas, yes: the brother of Jesus. Perhaps also known as The Beloved Disciple."

        "Thomas is a Bible name but many of the old people speak about Jesus and Judas here."

        "Interesting. In The Acts of Thomas, Jesus appeared in front of a young man, and the young man sees Jesus in the likeness of the Apostle Judas Thomas." Hellmantle assumed a mocking posture of a preacher:

"‘The Lord says to him: ‘I am not Judas who is also Thomas, I am his brother.'"



TABLE OF CONTENTS                                                                                  
          The Family of the Bible
1.       Concerning the famous Hellmantle's position, character and way of life
2.       Concerning the ingenious man's visit with his uncle Jack Grosseteste
3.       Which relates to how Hellmantle is given his first adventure
4.       About what happened to our adventurer when he goes to the Philippines
5.       In which the story of our crusader's journey begins in earnest
6.       About Hellmantle's time in the city of sin on Christmas Eve
7.       About the brave Hellmantle's success on his adventure to Baguio City worthy of happy memory
8.       In which the courageous Hellmantle of Normandy journeys north into the Cordillera Mountain Range
9.       About what happened to Hellmantle in the mission in the mountains and the crucifixion of Jesus
10.     Concerning Hellmantle of Normandy in the land of the headhunters
11.     About the required riding techniques to reach the destination of Sagada and the church organist
12.     In which the German artist is tracked to the Shamrock Café and dangers of the northeast of Luzon Island
13.     In which Catharine is tracked to the Shamrock Café and an eery coincidence of a reoccurring dream
14.     About Hellmantle reaching the rice terraces and finding a way to the northwest
15.     About what happened to our intrepid philosopher in the middle of the Sierra Madre Mountains
16.     In which a record is given about the brave Hellmantle through uncharted territory on his trusted dirt bike
17.     Which relates to Hellmantle of Normandy reaching the northern coast and the rubble of Aparri
18.     About the final day of the motorcycle journey and discussing the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel in Vigan
19.     About the sermon in Agoo Basilica and what they find at the church with the rouge bell tower
20.     Concerning the Dutch Padre and what he knows about the hidden map
21.     About the return to Manila and the coup that causes the Great Man from Normandy grief
22.     Which brings Hellmantle of Normandy back to Hong Kong to re-evaluate the next step in his quest for truth
23.     In which their journey is related to Jack Grosseteste and a new task is set before the Man from Normandy
24.     Concerning the journey to northern Vietnam to track down the map hidden at a French prison
25.     About how Hellmantle and D'Aqs compare notes on their task at hand in Hanoi
26.     In which an account is given of the beginning of the journey of Hellmantle in Vietnam
27.     About how Hellmantle and his brave squire ride north to the place where the four rivers meet
28.     Concerning the French prison and what Hellmantle finds there
29.     Concerning the discovery of the bottle and what lies inside of it
30.     Concerning the journey to Dien Bien Phu in honor of their grandfather the Great Dane Hellmantle
31.     About what the motorcyclists see on the fields in Dien Bien Phu
32.     Concerning the motorcycling required to reach Hanoi via the other side of the Da River Valley
33.     Which tells of the final stage back to Hanoi and the discussion after their most beautiful ride
34.     Concerning the visit with the knowledgeable Jack Grosseteste and the sally to India
35.     Concerning the arrival and journey to Kashmir Valley
36.     In which the journey begins in earnest through the checkpoints to the foot of the Moghul Fort
37.     In which Srinagar is reached and how the houseboat was as it was hundred years ago
38.     In which Hellmantle reach their houseboat on the lake below the fort and beside the mosque
39.     In which Hellmantle sets out for the Tomb of Thome and his brother Joshua beside him
40.     Which relates to the agreeable history of the journey north to the monastery on horseback
41.     In which Hellmantle returns to Srinagar and finds the first translations of the black stones
42.     Which concerns the deciphering of the discovery at the monastery and the need to go to the Ganges River
43.     About Hellmantle of Normandy's meeting with the holy man after taking a dip in the Ganges River
44.     About Hellmantle's meeting at Jack Grossetests's place with D'Aqs and Catharine the artist from Sagada
o       Chronology of Historical Events



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