It is said that the dawn from Mount Sinai has a quality few other dawns have, but Ms. Madison wasn't so sure. As far as she could see, it just meant that, having frozen on the way up, she was going to bake on the way down. As the sun slowly rose above the horizon, and Ms. Madison thought in pre-Copernican terms, she wondered for the second time what the day would bring. All around her, tourists took photographs, while a few Bedouin looked unimpressed, having seen it all a thousand times before.
Which was, appropriately, when it happened. The mountain shook, as a beam of light shone down from above. Everyone looked and gawped, feeling that this was quite justified, especially when a man in flowing robes with white hair descended from the sky, holding out his arms and beaming.
'I am Moses, returned from heaven!' he announced grandly.
While the assembled throng marvelled at the robed man's landing, Ms. Madison wondered if this man had read Sir Richard Arcos' Commentary on the Books of Moses, which had opined that Moses' body was assumed into heaven.
'I give you!' "Moses" raised one hand in the air, his robes falling away from it, 'Ten New Commandments, fresh off the heavenly press!'
The crowd 'oo-ed' and 'ah-ed' with feeling.
'The First Commandment is: "Thou shalt wear trainers on Sunday!"' The robed man produced a couple of engraved tablets from under his robes. Ms. Madison resolved to break that one. As she was thinking these subversive thoughts, "Moses" delivered four more:
2. Thou shalt not do more than Thirty in a built-up area.
3. Thou shalt not do overtime on Thursday.
4. Thou shalt wear a beard (no exceptions).
5. Thou shalt gouge out the eye of thine enemy with a blunt stick. If thine enemy has no more eyes left, kill him.
The list, Ms. Madison thought, was distinctly fishy. All the more so when the new sixth and seventh commendments related to Trout Fisheries. Besides, under the beard and robes, she recognised the wiry figure of....