Chapter 15                       Dance With The Devil         By Gunther Schwab                   Written in 1963.




The certainty of a hideous but irrevocable end seemed like some inert substance that laid itself

with deadening effect over heart, mind and spirit. Rolande sat with staring eyes,

the very image of despair.

Sten turned to her. "Tired?" he asked softly.

She nodded. "Tired and sad," she said.

Groot tried to strike a bold note. "No need for that," he said, "what's inevitable must be accepted."

"Inevitable?" queried Sten. "We have brought everything on ourselves."

"What of it? There's nothing we can do about it now. Noth­ing makes life as precious

as does the threat of death, so let's live while life remains. What do we care what comes after-wards?"

The poet looked at him. "Have you no feeling of guilt?" he asked.

"Oh, don't talk so much ! " said Groot.


He turned to Harding.

"Too much thinking is unhealthy."

"That doesn't stop me thinking."

It was Rolande who spoke.

A footman offered refreshments. Groot and Harding helped themselves liberally,

Sten and Rolande refused.

The Devil smiled.

"Have I managed to convince you?" he asked.

"Completely," said Groot, and Harding nodded.

"We are convinced," added Rolande in a low voice.

"I hope your demonstration's over now."

"Not quite."



"I've had enough," said Rolande with a slight shake of her shoulders.

"Surely we've heard everything now. If not, we can form a pretty good idea of it.

The world is the Devil's and we are lost. What more is there to say?"

The Devil adopted his smoothest tone.

"It isn't a matter of indifference how a man – or a woman – spends the last lap of his life.

It matters a lot whether he has excitement, glory, respect and riches,

or spends the time as my enemy, poor, hunted and despised.

Think it over.

Think it over carefully.

But you have still to listen to Number One, the head of the most im­portant department of all.

Number One will really take you to the bottom of things.

He will really show you what I might call the activating motor of ruin,

the prime source of all the powers of destruction."

"We just can't wait to meet him," said Groot.


The Devil switched on the inter-corm "I want Turduk," he said.

"He isn't here yet." It was Do's voice.

"Tell him to hurry," said the Devil with a grunt.

Even Sten and Rolande now showed a glimmer of interest on their faces.

"What is the name of Number One Department?" asked Groot.

"The Flood."

Sten asked, "Does that mean that a new flood —?"

"Indeed it does. Last time it was water. The new flood will consist of human beings."

"I don't understand," said Groot.

The Devil: "The population bomb ! – something even more dangerous than the atom bomb.

It's always possible that the atom bomb might be condemned and abolished

 – assuming that my enemies proved strong enough

– but the human bomb will detonate as surely as I sit here."

Groot: "You're speaking in riddles."


The Devil: "Man was just clever enough to nullify the restrictive forces of Nature,

but his brain wasn't sufficiently de­veloped for him to realize that the natural control which

he had overcome had to be replaced by a moral control. He turned aside from facing up to morality

– and so from life. Since then, he's multiplying beyond all natural and permissible limits and

although his great numbers make it for the moment appear as if he'd won a victory over Nature,

yet those very numbers will bring him to destruction. Just watch the screen.

 Here is Turduk's last report, made some thirty years ago."

They saw the Devil's office, in which they themselves were now sitting. Murduscatu,

the Terrible One, was with Turduk, the Head of Department No. 1.

He was a devil of impressive appearance; tall, well groomed and beautifully dressed.


You would have taken him for a University professor, or for a lead­ing doctor.

The screen showed the discussion in full progress.

The Devil was saying: "And what will happen to Europe?"

To which Turduk replied: "The Asians will tread it under-foot,

but they won't benefit very much from what they acquire.

They've already begun to poison themselves through contact with a civilization which they didn't produce.

This will destroy them, as the Red Indians were destroyed by becoming familiar with alcohol.

Soon they'll have grown soft and become de-generate.

They'll break their ties with the soil and will refuse to work on the land."

"Who will do it for them?"

"The yellow races."

"And what then?"


"The people that work the fields sooner or later take pos­session of them;

that's a matter of historical experience. T

he yellow races will take the lead."

"For how long?"

"For two hundred years."

"And then?"

"Then the dragon's teeth, which have been sewn in Africa by our noble pioneers,

our great civilizers, our lion-shooters and medicine men, will begin to bear fruit.

The black wave will rise up and flood the yellow men.

The black men will triumph in the end."

"Meanwhile, what will happen in America?"

"The white man will be extinguished in America, even before this happens in Europe."

"Who will extinguish him?"

"In the north the Asiatics, in the south the brown races from the South American jungle."

"They seem to me too primitive and too frightened of the world."

"They are today; but the trail is laid. Mr. Holloway is at work.

He and his clever wife go about in a motor-boat, visit the natives, present them with cinema and radio.

They build health centres, hold the good death in check by means of injections and pills,

and consider themselves the benefactors of humanity.


There are many others doing much the same thing; these people are,

of course, traitors to their race and to their own lives.

The bomb in the jungle has been fused;

it will explode when the time comes for that explosion and the brown flood,

which the white man has called into being, will engulf the Continent."

At this moment Turduk himself entered the room, and the Devil switched off the television screen.

Turduk bowed at the door, then advanced with quick, springing steps to his master's desk and bowed again.

"Long time no see, Turduk," said the Devil.

It was the first time that he got up to greet one of his assistants. They shook hands. T

hen, with exquisite grace, Turduk greeted the others.


"Since you kept us waiting," the Devil began, "I played over your last report to our guests."

"Superseded, Boss," cried Turduk, eagerly.

"Completely out-of-date! I've pushed matters along at such a headlong pace that the picture today

is an infinitely more promising one than it was even thirty years ago."

"I'm glad to hear it."

Turduk turned to the guests. "I assume," he said, "that a number of other Department Heads

have already spoken to you?"

"Nearly all of them," said the Devil.

Turduk went on: "Whatever you've heard, it all can be traced back to the same cause

– the mass multiplication of man. It was my task to remove all the inhibiting factors from human fertility."

"Mankind needed 500,000 years to attain the billion mark; that was in 1850;

since then it's more than doubled.


From 1800 to 1914, the population in Germany increased from 24 to 70 millions.

For this steady hypertrophy of human numbers, all the other Departments in this Ministry of ours

could neither func­tion nor would they be necessary.

Man believes that he's no longer subject to the forces of Nature.

Actually, he has only temporarily held in check the executive powers of creation.

They've been pushed back to the edges of the world and wait for their hour to come.

"Scientists prophesy for the year 2000, a population of 4.5 billion, and for 2160, one of 18.5 billion."

"Excellent, Turduk, but it's too long to wait. Can't we speed up the increase?"

"Since man multiplies by geometrical progression, we can really reckon with higher figures

of growth than the ones I've just quoted. But I'm not replying on the progression alone.

I've done everything in order to accelerate the advent of the catas­trophe."


"What, for instance?"

"I've called a number of organizations into being which aim at introducing hygiene

and so-called health all over the world. Among many nations of Asia my public health measures

are only now getting into their stride.

More than 350 million people live in India; till now in that sub-continent the good death

has put limits on the ruinous fertility of man by means of plagues, poisonous snakes,

tigers and famines.

Now, my health and nutrition programmes are being developed there.

The death-rate is falling; the birth-rate is rising. People are battling with infant mortality,

tuberculosis, malaria and hunger.

Here, too, the popu­lation figures will soon be mounting sky-high.

If you want to see the superb results of these health programmes, please look at the screen.

That is San Juan – on the isle of Puerto Rico – which means `rich harbour'.

That was what it once was, centuries ago.


Certainly, it was the harbour of an island that was rich and flourishing;

today it is in the grip of the most hideous misery that we could wish for.

In 1898, the island was taken over by the U.S.A.

At that time Puerto Rico had a million inhabitants.

Our agents started our health programme and the results thereof were most gratifying.

By 1950 the number of inhabitants had increased by 2.2 millions.

Now 250 people inhabit every square kilometre.

Each Peurto Rican can reckon on 800 square metres for his food, though a man,

 in order to be adequately fed, needs a minimum surface of 10,000 square metres.


On the screen you see one of the most wretched slums of San Juan;

it came into being as a direct result of our health programme.

You see that these dwellings have been built on piles over the sea,

because there's no longer any room on the land.

Each of these tiny huts is inhabited by between twenty and forty souls.

In the stinking and foul waters under this township on piles you can see refuse floating alongside

the corpses of animals and even of newborn children.

Nobody seems to think anything of it when despairing parents simply throw their newborn children

into the water. A monument has been erected to the man who invented

this Health Programme for Puerto Rico. He was a Mr. Cowborrow, one of my most trusted agents.


It is most gratifying to reflect that Mr. Cowborrow has found imitators all over the world.

People who believe in brotherly love and mercy are for our not inconsider­able

benefit preparing the most terrible catastrophe that has ever afflicted mankind."

"But – that's a crime ! " cried Sten.

"You're wrong," said Turduk. "Men call it humanity."

The Devil: "Don't get hysterical, Mr. Poet."

"Yes, but these people act from motives of humanity," said Rolande, with a restless gesture.

 "They are idealists, pioneers, full of goodwill, and of the most honourable intentions —"

Turduk: "Of course they are ! That's what they believe and that's what the world believes,

and their noble deeds cause thousands to try and imitate them.

All this suits my programme wonderfully well."

The Devil interrupted: "And that wouldn't be the first time that these so-called idealists

 – we call them fools !

– were serv­ing our purposes and sacrificing themselves for us."

He laughed. "That's the really devilish thing about it.

They believe they're doing good and, nevertheless,

they execute the judgement which we devils have devilishly passed on mankind.

They pray, and are nevertheless accursed.

They are pioneers, yes, but pioneers of ruin."


Rolande: "Some brake can be put on fertility."

Turduk: "You mean, birth-control? Excellent! But it merely postpones what must ultimately come;

it is no solution to the problem and, since it's against Nature, it only leads us nearer to the abyss.

And who is it that takes precautions?

The people who know something, who have a sense of responsibility, the valu­able ones, in fact.

And who refrains from taking precautions?

The great mass of the mediocre.

Where does that lead to?"

"Sensible legislation would not leave the matter open to the individual.

It would put compulsion equally on all."

"Very good! And what would in such cases be prevented?


Good progeny would remain unborn along with bad.

Birth-control is only another way to disease and to spiritual pro­letarianism.

If there's no selection, life becomes sick."

"Then what could be done to prevent this enormous multi­plication of human lives?" asked Sten.

"Nothing. We've every reason to hope that by the year 2050,

the human population of the earth will, in all, total 36,800 million."

"Can the world feed as many as that?" asked Groot.

Turduk: "Today, in Germany, there are 200 people to the square kilometre.

If what I anticipate comes true, there would, in the world as a whole,

be four thousand people per square kilometre.

The world would be as densely populated as Man­hattan is today.

The area for growing food would then have shrunk to 250 square metres for each individual."

"Good ! What else?"


"It's not a matter of indifference what kind of man and woman make up the majority

and whether they are wise or foolish, and I may fairly claim to have done not a little

to ensure that fools preponderate. Thus, as men multiply, so will intel­lectual decay proceed."

The Devil laughed. "If that's true, Turduk, I can see the opening up of really lovely horizons."

"But surely it can't be quite true?" Groot ventured to inter­ject.

"Everybody nowadays tries to get a better education and better professional qualifications."

The Boss was almost rude in his tone.

"You're an obstinate fellow, Mr. Groot.

Haven't you understood from what you've heard so far that stupidity and intellectual culture

get on very well together and that from intellectuality to wisdom is a long road that few people travel?

But you can't deny that nobody wants to be stupid – or insignificant – and that's what matters," he said.


Turduk: "Yes, indeed. Nobody wants to be insignificant;

they strive for higher education, not for the sake of that education,

hut because they want to count for more; because they want to have a more comfortable and a better life.

They only obey those urges which we've implanted in them, the urge to appear im­portant

and the desire for sensual satisfaction. Mr. Groot is quite right.

The number of those who seek a so-called education is very large.

That development has been guided by myself and is proceeding according to plan.

Most of these people remain hal f-educated, but since they believe themselves to be educated

their minds are even more closed to truth than they would otherwise be.

Some really do achieve education – and a few actual wisdom.

However, that doesn't really matter very much; what matters is something else.


"The more they learn, the fewer children they have.

Among 2,700,000 women in the U.S.A. those with grade school educa­tion have on an average 4.33 children.

If they pass through eight grades, they only have 2.78 children.

If they attended a high school, the number of children fell to 1.75.

If they went to college, it fell to 1.25.

This means that the training of the mind impairs fertility;

the largest numbers of children are to be found among poor people who have little intelligence

and little school­ing, they are to be found among the great mass of allegedly under-developed peoples

and not among the inhabitants of the continents of a super civilization.


"Intelligence wins academic rank.

The industrious and efficient achieve the possession of houses, bank accounts and stomach ulcers.

The poor, the ones that lack a higher intellectual potential, get children.

Thus a very important trend is set in motion.

The nearer mankind approaches to the final catastrophe,

the more should all the powers of the mind be concentrated and enhanced in order to meet it;

yet what in fact happens is that, as the catastrophe approaches,

the intelligent tend to become rela­tively fewer, and the great, uncritical mass becomes ever larger.


The great uncritical mass is as incapable of wisdom as it is of grasping a theory or understanding

a political programme. It is therefore incapable of being intelligently led.

"Here then, Boss, I venture to say, without presumption, is our final victory

– our victory over man. It doesn't matter to us now whether a few people who really think

 try desperately to resist our plans.

They're hopelessly encircled by a stark mass of poor, untalented, hopeless men and women,

who are multiplying at compound interest."

The Devil, with an expression of keenest satisfaction, rubbed his fat chin.

Turduk addressed Harding and Groot.

"Well, gentlemen, what do you think will happen when the illiterate peoples of Asia

make up the greater part of mankind?

And remember – I repeat this – my great health programmes have only just started."

The Devils laughed.


Rolande pressed both hands to her mouth.

"What will happen next?" she asked.

"Everywhere man, who's been raging against life,

will reap the reward that his so-called progress has earned.

The End will be that mankind will consist of a herd of many billions of ignorant,

weak, sick and lunatic people who can no longer exist without the help of others.

Misery, sickness, pain and hunger is the fruit of this so-called humanity."

The Boss himself now took up the thread.

"Then the hour of the creative powers will have come.

For thousands of years, pressed back by men, they've waited at the edge of life.

Like Huns, they'll fall upon man, who will be without his medical bodyguard;

they'll seize him where they can.

Oh, those humans will die like flies!" He laughed a hoarse, demoniac laugh.

"Spoiled beyond redemption by their machines and contrivances,

which will now suddenly refuse to serve them, weakened and rotted by their poisons,

they will crawl through the streets, help-less, lost and accursed.

That will be my day, my zero hour, the day of triumph – and it isn't far away ! "


Turduk had listened patiently to his master's outburst.

When it was concluded, he said:

"We'll make their lives so wretched and so terrible that they'll no longer wish to live;

they'll no longer have children and, if they do, they'll murder them at birth to spare them

the misery of being alive.

Millions will kill themselves; millions will kill their neighbour as an act of kind­ness.

Thus, they'll escape and will help others to escape from the hell which they themselves have created.

Then the great madness will begin."


He paused for a moment and looked triumphantly from one face to another;

all were distorted by horror.

"Go on," said Rolande, for whom the tension had become unbearable.

"First," said Turduk, "they'll pull down the monuments." "Which ones?"

"Many of them.

Very many.

Perhaps all.

Perhaps they'll begin with Louis Pasteur, Robert Koch, Rudolf Virchow and Joseph Lister

— perhaps with that of Einstein. Or, possibly, with the men who conquered Yellow Fever,

the inventors of DDT, penicillin, and sulphonamide.

There's a large number to choose from."

"And then?"


"Then they'll kill anybody whose expression seems to suggest that he's capable of independent thought.

They'll kill these people and hope that in doing so, they'll be killing some in­ventor,

some chemist or doctor, or some scientist of some kind and that they will thus be contributing

to the saving of man.

They'll kill anybody against whom they can make the imputation of progress."

Groot was deeply disturbed. "How will it end?" he cried.

Turduk smiled. In a quiet, friendly voice, he said: "The end will be the battle of all against all.

All will kill and all will be killed. He who strikes first will survive — till the next time.

Friend will kill friend; parents will kill children and children their parents.


Brothers will kill their sisters.

The flesh of those thus murdered will quench the hunger of the survivors."

The Fertility Devil was silent.

The Boss laughed silently. His eyes were glittering with enthusiasm.

For a time the anxious breathing of the humans was the only sound to be heard.

Rolande was the first to pull herself together. Her voice was hoarse as she spoke.

"Have human beings deserved this terrible fate?

Surely only a very few of them have deliberately worked for this end?"

Turduk replied: "Whether they've done so deliberately or no, they've acted contrary to the law.

They've endeavoured to do away with the good death."

"I've heard this expression several times," she said. "What is meant by `the good death' ?"

"There are two kinds of death.

The `good' death poisons them.

The `good' death causes the tree of life to bear blossoms and fruit, the `bad' death lets it decay.

The `good' death has the function of maintaining life within the world; it kills suffering and strengthens life.


"You've not understood the wisdom of the eternal ordering of the world.

You've fought against the `good' death, and you thought you had conquered death himself.

That was your triumph. A pitiful triumph, for you have made life sick.

You've done away with selection and so caused a lowering of the quality of man

and the drying up of the sources of truth.

You've conjured up the bad death billion fold, and there's now no escape.

You've conjured up a death against which no little powders or pills will help you,

that will destroy life itself, and cause men to perish in unspeakable suffering and misery."

"I like the picture you draw," said the Boss. "A truly devilish piece of work."

Turduk replied, "A work that's a work of justice.

A work that will make mankind poor and humble."


"It's difficult to believe that the Devil is concerned with humility," said Rolande.

"The riches of the earth will be exhausted," Turduk said, "and the work of man destroyed.

What is left of mankind will begin to dig the earth with their bare hands in order

to force from it a new fertility.

They'll learn reverence once more before a handful of earth,

before a blade of grass that may, perhaps, bring them an infinitesimal trifle of nourishment;

and in their wretched state, they'll learn that they're as nothing before the Almighty Power.

Once more they will learn to pray.

Then the natural measure of things will have been re-established, both within man and outside him."

"Strange," whispered Sten, "a Devil who seeks to teach us to pray."

"Go on ! " said the Boss.

"From the last corners of the mountains and of the deserts those remnants of the animal

and vegetable world which had been suppressed by man will once more take possession of the earth,

the earth from which this presumptuous and insatiable creature has wrongfully extruded them.

A new Paradise will come into being on the ruins of a world which Man has destroyed."

"Shall we live to see this?" asked the girl.

"No! Your portion is horror and ruin. You yourselves have called them into being."

"And will it last – this new Paradise?" asked Groot.

"It will last for as long as man lives in poverty and reverence." "What will happen then to the Devil?"

"Then my task on earth will have been completed," said the Boss.

"Perhaps I'll be called back to undertake some new one on another star."

Sten asked, "Will your task there also be to restore a Paradise?"

"Yes. To restore harmony and justice."


"But that's anything but a task for a DeviI."

"How long will this new world last?" asked Groot.

"This world which is reverent and good, this world of Paradise!" "Until man plucks the apple."

"Then Paradise will be lost?"

"Yes. And again I shall be given a task upon earth." "What task?"

"To hunt into a new Hell those who have fallen away."

"So the Devil in this our modern world stands for a moral principle?"

"Mankind is blind and stupid," said the Devil. "You shall know the Devil by his fruits."



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