Chapter 16 Dance With The Devil By Gunther Schwab Written in 1963.
SWITCHED ON THE MICROPHONE. "ASSEMBLY!"
he sat down and made himself comfortable in his big arm-chair,
looked with a triumphant smile from one to other of his guests.
at the end of our course of instruction, my friends.
put my cards on the table.
Now you know everything – or nearly
everything – and so you are my accomplices.
become the Devil's creatures before you've actually committed yourselves.
understand that I do nothing for nothing.
that now remains to be done is to draw up a formal deed of association.
to the decision you'll arrive at, I'm in no kind of doubt.
heard and seen how I and my assistants are going ahead according to plan
the offensive against mankind.
different stages of this plan are prepared very slowly, but I forget nothing;
are no loopholes.
hold a whole handful of trumps.
atomic energy doesn't take the trick, then chemistry will do so;
if mankind should escape the deadly grip of the poisoners,
would still be threatened with hunger. If it should ever hit on the idea of
saving its soil,
water and its peasantry, I should finish it off with a thousand other little
have prepared. Mankind is lost and I let them dance merrily on the top of a
situation is utterly hopeless," said Groot, "so what else could they
say that," said the girl.
might happen at any time, despite all the efforts of the Devils,
that a man would arise who had the strength to summon humanity to action."
Devil made a deprecatory gesture.
should use all the means at my disposal to show him as a fool, a criminal,
an enemy of the human race. And the mob, guided by myself, would lynch him.
worry, my friends, the world is mine and it is to me that mankind
! " Suddenly Sten Stolpe, the poet, stood in the centre of the room, his
! " he cried again – and yet again. "No ! "
Boss looked him up and down in amazement, and there was malice in his smile.
poet is becoming hysterical," he said quietly.
let his arms fall. He stood upright and alone; one man against the power of
play the fool, Sten," said Harding. "Anyone who resists will never
leave this house."
ruin us all," cried Groot.
to her inmost being, full of fear, and yet also with a feeling of joy,
looked at Sten Stolpe.
Boss had ordered "Assembly" and from doors that were visible and
the mysterious transparency of the fourth wall,
various department heads entered the room. All the assistants and under-Devils
gathered round Satan, forming a half-circle behind him.
was Mondo, that sympathetic, strangely likeable Devil, in the front row;
to him stood the Stink Devil, the unassuming Grabbleskrit,
all the others who had made their report during the past three days.
never to be forgotten or overlooked, there stood Murduscatu, the Devil with
the death's head.
looked from one to the other of these cold, malevolent and threatening faces.
silence hung over everything. In a voice that was loud and clear, he again
do you mean by `No'?" asked the Devil sharply.
may have bedevilled every sphere of life, but so long
millions of human hearts there is love and goodness and a desire for
can claim no right to the world."
Devil gave a little laugh.
goodness and a desire for righteousness are very often put into the service
so-called humanity. Under the disguise of humanity, I have set violence,
and commercial interests upon the thrones of the world,
woe to him who seeks to unmask the fraud."
it needs is a thought, a word, a deed.
the Devil will be powerless."
is too ill for healthy thoughts, too weak for a liberating deed,
the word of truth is no longer understood by him."
every being Truth lives a concealed life. Man must be helped to find her."
is more dangerous than that. I have killed Truth."
we know on what it is that Satan has founded his dominion.
has founded it on presumption and greed."
what can you set against that?"
is only practised by the wise; reverence only felt by the great;
masses are as far removed from greatness as they are from wisdom."
joined in. He was the Devil's man.
fool!" he cried.
you think you can win even a single man for a programme that advocates hunger
Promise them riches without work, gluttony,
lust and degeneracy,
they'll praise you and follow you."
blessedness of breathing, the fulfilling of life, are independent of riches.
a tree need treasure under its roots in order to blossom?
a bird need a golden nest in order to sing?
you going to say that only someone who has stuffed himself full of food can be
that only the rich can be good?
only the degenerate can love, and only the slave can have human feelings?"
turned to Sten.
guilt of man is immeasurable and almost inexpiable.
has the Creator permitted it?"
is patient, and full of infinite goodness;
allowed us time to recollect ourselves and to be converted.
of this, we've continued along the road to ruin.
! " he suddenly cried. "Why am I under the curse of being a man?
I were an animal, a tree, a wretched worm or a blade of grass on the wayside.
does it avail us to be human, if we must die because of it?
our knowledge does not weigh heavier than life itself."
are human, and the super-brain draws you downwards," replied Satan.
turned to his friends.
Groot, Bob Harding – we still have life.
dares to speak of Paradise lost?
earth will still be green, the bees will still hum in the flowers,
thousand miracles of creation still speak to us !
must seek life; we must summon it ! "
put man to sleep ! " said the Devil.
will awaken him."
you're faced with an enemy who's bent on your destruction
only one argument that's any use – that of the bigger battalions.
invincible powers of money will destroy anyone who seeks to interfere with
number of the victims is greater than that of those who profit."
man has for a moment some advantage from the process of human ruin.
will be willing to deny himself that."
cry out and millions will hear me."
will merely result in the death of millions, and then the hatred of misguided
men will destroy you."
those poor dupes will have to die so that mankind may return to life – to true
survivor of a single noble pair, would make possible the birth of a new human
what happens when you invite these masses to sacrifice their lives for the
those who survive them, Mr. Stolpe," mocked the Boss.
think that you'll not find a single one to follow you.
even should there be millions ready to face the irrevocable catastrophe
they themselves have brought about, it would avail nothing,
I lead the powers of destruction.
ranks are closed and they are well organized against Man.
by all good spirits, man ends by standing alone and lost."
asked Sten, and it was as though he addressed the question to himself.
do you say? We are not alone!"
Rolande stood beside Sten, pale, resolute and brave.
heart was beating hard and her hands were pressed against her breast where,
her dress, she felt the blessed grains of corn, the secret of life,
throughout the ages. Her gaze flickered.
are not alone," she said. "Behind us stands God."
utter that name," roared the Boss, leaping up,
a movement went through the ranks of Devils as though some terrible power
pressing upon it.
believe, you madmen, that He will help you?
who is humiliated, denied, insulted and spat upon a thousand times a day
every one of your thoughts, by every word,
every motion of your poisoned hearts, every action,
your whole crazy, ruined, accursed world !
think that you can expect something from Him? Did I not say to you that the
broken his staff over your heads, that it was He who gave me my commission
destroy you because you have offended against His law?
is His will that this monstrosity which is Man should be utterly annihilated.
you imagine that you can assert yourselves against this Will
hope that in this crisis He will be at your side?"
will help us," said Sten.
that word again and you shall go to Hell, wretched worms that you are!"
fumed the Devil.
remained upright and looked into the Boss's raging, distorted face.
knew in that moment that he was not without fear and yet – perhaps because of
he spoke with resolution: "Once again, and a thousand times more, the name
demon ! God, God, God, will help us." It was like a conjuration, a cry for
anchor of safety; the crowd of Devils round the Boss changed into a pack of
showed their teeth and, with their hands ready to claw,
about to hurl themselves on the two human beings.
Boss urged them on, crying, "Seize them ! Beat them ! Into the prisons
with them ! "
Devils' dance of hate-filled, howling demons swirled round Sten and Rolande,
yet it seemed as though some in-visible force held them back.
Boss pressed ten bellpushes at once and from all the corners of the room new
devil-faces appeared. As they drew nearer, they increased the insane confusion.
and Sten stood in the centre, clinging to one another, terrified.
girl sank to her knees, but Sten remained standing and raised
arms in supplication to Heaven. "Is it true, Almighty God,
Thou hast forsaken us because we have forsaken Thee?
it true that Thou hast judged us because we erred?
we confess it! We have trodden the laws of life underfoot.
have made a mockery of Thy creation with every act of our degenerate world.
have mocked at its wisdom and love. We have hated and resisted necessary
is there to help to maintain the world. We have become the enemies of Nature,
she has been the friend of all living things and of ourselves since the
beginning of the world.
have thought ourselves better than the best of her creatures and yet, through
our own fault,
become the last and most wicked thereof. We have stretched out our hands to
take the crown
dominion from Thy head and have presumed to seat ourselves upon Thy
Rolande had echoed every word, with her hands folded and her head bowed.
she raised her eyes, as though seeking her Creator who could not be seen
the great expanse of Heaven.
us, Almighty God," she cried. "Hear us!"
continued: "We humbly confess and repent that we have been guilty and have
according to Eternal Law, must visit us as an act of justice.
Even in our destruction, there is to be seen
the goodness of Creation,
destroys the sinner, so that Paradise may be restored.
we recognize this, we are ready to pay the penalty and to accept without demur
execution of the judgement upon ourselves.
since Thy almighty power is love in all things, we know that it will once more
its charge if we repent and humbly join ourselves to the chain of living things
the place that has been appointed for us, the place that none may leave under
pain of death.
have repented and submit.
we will return home to the eternal sources of life, which we have despised.
would be pure! We would be poor! We would be truly our-selves !
Thy goodness and Thy help, we would endeavour to win back the simple, true
would be the brothers of all things that live, from the blade of grass to the
beast in the fields.
will declare Thee Holy by declaring Holy Thy divine creation.
beg Thee to forgive us, and to receive us again into the community of the
we have presumptuously shut ourselves out. We will abjure injustice and return
we know that Thou wilt forgive us, for Thy goodness and Thy love for all that
is just are boundless."
the two human beings were praying, the mad Devils' dance had ceased.
in impotent rage, the Devils crawled about in the corners of the room while
Boss lay outstretched and twitching on top of this weirdly moving mass,
great mouth painfully gasping for air. Only Murduscatu, the Devil with the
remained standing. Now he sank stiffly forward, then violently hit the ground,
skull broke loose from the body and rumbled across the room.
God," Sten continued, "forgive us and stand by us in this, our hour
of greatest need.
wish to serve life.
are in Thy hands and we know that nothing happens save in accordance with Thy
eternal will. Give us a period of grace to prove ourselves.
wish to destroy the works of the Devil in this world; we wish to restore back
into Thy hands
apple that, contrary to Thy commands, we stole from the tree.
what is Thine, and forgive us our wickedness. Lord, have mercy upon us ! "
have mercy upon us ! " echoed Rolande.
there was a clap of thunder.
huge Devil house trembled and the whole earth along with it. Under their feet,
floor began to sway. A cry of tortured humanity rose up from the deep,
from millions of throats; the walls burst asunder, smoke and flames covered the
then, with a roar like that of thunder, the whole mighty building of the Devil
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