In ancient times, very few men and women knew how to read and write. Learning
the cuneiform script was long and laborious. The young scribes had
to memorise at least two hundred different signs in order to write
Sumerian, which is not related to any other language known. A student
wrote a humorous Sumerian proverb on this small round tablet in
about 1800 BC. It says: 'He whose barley sprouts weeps. He who is
pouring out water cannot converse.'