HASSEIN immediately sat down at Beelzebub’s feet and coaxingly said:
“Tell me anything you wish, my dear Grandfather. Anything you tell me will be the greatest joy for me, if only because it is you who relate it.”
“No,” objected Beelzebub, “you yourself ask what interests you most of all. It will give me at the present moment much pleasure to tell you about just whatever you particularly wish to know.”
“Dear and kind Grandfather, tell me then something about those . . . how? . . . those . . . I forget . . . yes, about those ‘slugs.'”
“What? About what slugs?” asked Beelzebub, not understanding the boy’s question.
“Don’t you remember, Grandfather, that a little while ago, when you spoke about the three-centered beings breeding on the various planets of that solar system where you existed for such a long time, you happened to say that on one planet – I forget how you called it – that on that planet exist three-centered beings who, on the whole, are like us, but whose skin is a little slimier than ours.”
“Ah!” laughed Beelzebub. “You are surely asking about those beings who breed on the planet Earth and who call themselves ‘men.’
“Yes, Grandfather, yes, just that. Tell me about those ‘men-beings,’ a little more in detail. I should like to know more about them,” concluded Hassein.
Then Beelzebub said: “About them I could tell you a great deal, for I often visited that planet and existed among them for a long time and even made friends with many of those terrestrial three-brained beings.
[8. Hassein dares call men “slugs,” p. 80]
“Indeed, you will find it very interesting to know more about these beings, for they are very peculiar.
“There are many things among them which you would not see among any other beings of any other planet of our Universe.
“I know them very well, because their arising, their further development, and their existence during many, many centuries, by their time calculation, have occurred before my eyes.
“And not only their own arising occurred before my eyes, but even the accomplished formation of the planet itself on which they arise and exist.
“When we first arrived on that solar system and settled on the planet Mars nothing yet existed on that planet Earth, which had not yet even had time to cool off completely after its concentration.
“From the very beginning, this same planet has been the cause of many serious troubles to our ENDLESSNESS.
“If you wish I will tell you first of all about the events of general cosmic character connected with this planet, which were the cause of the said troubles of our ENDLESSNESS.”
“Yes, my dear Grandfather,” said Hassein, “tell me first about this. It will surely be quite as interesting as everything you relate.”