Gilgamesh was originally etched in stone with cuneiform writing, and some do believe it is the first written story. It is as exciting and fun to read as anything that has came out since.
For the first story in recorded history, it manages to hit all the archetypes we have for stories of this type. A kind of trip to the underworld, a flood with one guy on a boat and several heroes quests. The first thing I really found interesting was the communication in Gilgamesh and Enkidu‘s dreams. I have never seen prophetic dreams used in stories like that before. Gilgamesh discussed his dreams with his mother and then takes her advice back to the dreams and that advice is then passed on to Enkidu’s dreams. Through those dreams, the two men communicated and met for the first time. I think this is significant because it shows the importance of dreams at the time of the story. Most of the old gods had the aspects of those things the people did not understand. Dreams were probably equally mystical. One of the wonderful things about literature is the window it opens onto the time it was put down. Like most ancient tales, Gilgamesh was probably a fireside tale long before it was written in stone. This story is easy to find and well worth the read. Aren’t books cool?