A LITTLE later, Beelzebub began to speak as follows:
“A story I have just recalled, connected with these ‘anathemas’ I have mentioned, may provide very useful material for beginning to comprehend the strangeness of the psyche of the three-brained beings of that planet which has taken your fancy; and furthermore, this story may reassure you a little and give you some hope that if these peculiar terrestrial beings should chance to learn how you had insulted them and should ‘anathematize’ you, then perhaps after all something ‘not so very bad’ might come of it for you.
“The story I am going to tell you occurred quite recently among the contemporary three-brained beings there, and it arose from the following events:
“In one of these large communities, there peaceably existed an ordinary being who was by profession what is there called a ‘writer.’
“You must here know, that in long-past ages one might still occasionally run across beings of that profession who still invented and wrote something really by themselves; but in these later epochs the ‘writers’ among the beings there, particularly among contemporary beings, have been of those that only copy from many already existing books all kinds of ideas, and by fitting them together make a ‘new book.’
“And they prefer books which have reached them from their very remote ancestors.
“It is necessary to remark that the books written by contemporary ‘writers’ there, are, all taken together, the principal cause that the Reason of all the other three-brained beings is becoming more and more what the venerable Mullah Nassr Eddin calls ‘stuff and nonsense.’
[12. The first “growl,” p. 99]
“And so, my boy:
“The contemporary writer of whom I began to speak was just a ‘writer’ like all the rest there, and nothing particular in himself.
“Once when he had finished some book or other, he began to think what he should write about next, and with this in view, he decided to look for some new ‘idea’ in the books contained in his what is called ‘library,’ such as every writer there is bound to have.
“As he was looking, a book called ‘the Gospels’ happened to fall into his hands.
“‘The Gospels’ is the name given there to a book once written by certain persons called Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John about Jesus Christ, a Messenger from our ENDLESSNESS to that planet.
“This book is widely circulated among those three-centered beings there who nominally exist according to the indications of this Messenger.
“This book having chanced to fall into this writer’s hands, the thought suddenly entered his head: Why should not I also make a ‘Gospel’?
“From investigations I had to make for quite different needs of mine, it turned out that he then further deliberated as follows:
“‘Am I any worse than those ancient barbarians, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Johnnie?
“‘At least I am more “cultured” than they ever were; and I can write a much better “gospel” for my contemporaries.
“‘And very decidedly it is necessary to write just a “Gospel” because the contemporary people called “English” and “American” have a great weakness for this book, and the rate of exchange of their pounds and dollars is “not half bad” just now.’
[12. The first “growl,” p. 100]
“No sooner said than done.
“And from that very day he ‘wiseacred’ away at his new ‘Gospel.’ But it was only when he had finished it, however, and had given it to the printers, that all the further events connected with this new ‘Gospel’ of his began.
“At any other time, nothing perhaps would have happened, and this new ‘Gospel’ of his would simply have slipped into its niche in the libraries of the bibliomaniacs there, among the multitudes of other books expounding similar ‘truths.’
“But fortunately or unfortunately for this writer, it happened that certain ‘power-possessing’ beings of that great community in which he existed had just been having rotten luck at what is called ‘roulette’ and ‘baccarat’ and they therefore kept on demanding what they called ‘money’ from the ordinary beings of their community, whereupon, thanks to these inordinate demands for money, the ordinary beings of that community at length awoke from their usual what is called torpor and ‘began-to-sit-up.’
“Seeing this, the ‘power-possessing’ beings who remained at home became alarmed and took corresponding ‘measures.’
“And among the ‘measures’ they took was also the immediate destruction from off the face of their planet of everything newly arising in their native land, such as could possibly keep the ordinary beings of their community from resuming their hibernation.
“And it was just at this time that the aforementioned ‘Gospels’ of this writer appeared.
“In the contents of this new ‘Gospel’ also, the ‘power-possessing’ beings found something which also to their understanding might keep the ordinary beings of their community from hibernating again; and they therefore decided almost immediately to ‘get rid of’ both the writer himself and his ‘Gospels’ – because they had now become quite expert in ‘getting rid of’ these native ‘upstarts’ who did not mind their own business.
[12. The first “growl,” p. 101]
“But for certain reasons they could not treat this writer in this way, and so they got excited, and hemmed and hawed about what they should do.
“Some proposed that they should simply shut him up where many ‘rats’ and ‘lice’ breed; others proposed to send him to ‘Timbuktu’; and so on and so forth; but in the end they decided to anathematize this writer together with his ‘Gospel,’ publicly and punctiliously according to all the rules, and moreover with the very same ‘anathema’ with which no doubt they would have anathematized you also if they had learned how you had insulted them.
“And so, my boy, the strangeness of the psyche of the contemporary three-brained beings of this peculiar planet was revealed in the given instance in this, that when this writer and his ‘Gospel’ had been publicly anathematized with this ‘anathema,’ the result for him was, as the highly esteemed Mullah Nassr Eddin once again says: ‘just Roses, Roses.’
“What occurred was as follows:
“The ordinary beings of the said community, seeing the fuss made about this writer by the power-possessing beings, became very greatly interested in him and avidly bought and read not only this new ‘Gospel’ of his but also all the books he had written before.
“Whereupon, as usually happens with the three-centered beings breeding on this peculiar planet, all the other interests of the beings of the said community gradually died down, and they talked and thought only of this writer.
“And as it also happens – whereas some praised him to the skies, others condemned him; and the result of these discussions and conversations was that the numbers interested in him grew not only among the beings of his own community but among the beings of other communities also.
[12. The first “growl,” p. 102]
“And this occurred because some of the power-possessing beings of this community, usually with pockets full of money, still continued in their turn to go to other communities, where ‘roulette’ and ‘baccarat’ proceeded, and carrying on their discussion there concerning this writer, they gradually infected the beings of other communities also with this affair.
“In short, owing to the strangeness of their psyche, it has gradually come about there that even at the present time, when this writer’s ‘Gospel’ has been long forgotten, his name is known almost everywhere as that of an ‘excellent writer.’
“Anything he writes now, they all seize upon and regard as full of indisputable truth.
“Everybody today looks upon his writings with the same veneration with which the ancient Kalkians there listened to the predictions of their sacred ‘Pythoness.’
“It is interesting to notice here that if at the present time you ask any being there about this writer, he would know him and of course speak of him as an extraordinary being.
“But if you were then to ask what he wrote, it would turn out that most of them, if of course they confessed the truth, has never read a single one of his books.
“All the same they would talk about him, discuss him, and of course splutteringly insist that he was a being with an ‘extraordinary mind’ and phenomenally well acquainted with the psyche of the beings dwelling on the planet Earth.”