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Talk of the Devil

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Talk of the Devil
Leonaur Original
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Author(s): Maximilian J. Rudwin (editor)
Date Published: 2010/10
Page Count: 272
Softcover ISBN-13: 978-0-85706-237-6
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-0-85706-238-3

Twenty four irresistibly tempting tales of sinful reading pleasure

Talk of the Devil—the old saying goes—and he is sure to appear! Indeed, here for your entertainment is Lucifer, Satan, Beelzebub, Old Nick, the Lord of the Flies, these are but five of the many names and titles that mankind has bestowed upon the Devil, the Prince of Evil, the dark figure who stands farthest away from the shining moral example of Godhead. Predictably, such a powerful figure, deeply embedded in the psyche of many cultures, has had an abiding fascination for writers since the earliest days of the written word and, inevitably, he has also become an essential component of folk tales in many countries. It is well noted that the characteristics of a hero are the same the world over, but if you need a really interesting personality then the villain can deliver satisfaction every time! This Leonaur book is a unique and special collection of classic short stories featuring the Devil himself, by a dazzling array of renowned exponents of penmanship including Irving, Gogol, Thackeray, Poe, Baudelaire, Hawthorne and many others. At its heart is a previously published collection entitled ‘Devil Stories’ edited by Maximilian Rudwin. However, this Leonaur edition benefits from the addition of five more tales of dark temptation and dastardly deeds for your enjoyment. Available in soft cover and hardcover with dust jacket.

The devil was whistling, and he thought:<br>
“I wonder how the dead feel in such weather! No doubt, the dampness goes down to them, and although they are secure against rheumatism ever since the day of their death, yet, I suppose, they do not feel comfortable. How, if I called one of them up and had a talk with him? It would be a little distraction for me, and, very likely, for him also. I will call him! Somewhere around here they have buried an old friend of mine, an author—I used to visit him when he was alive—why not renew our acquaintance? People of his kind are dreadfully exacting. I shall find out whether the grave satisfies him completely. But where is his grave?”<br>
And the devil who, as is well known, knows everything, wandered for a long time about the cemetery, before he found the author’s grave—<br>
“Oh there!” he called out as he knocked with his claws at the heavy stone under which his acquaintance was put away.<br>
“Get up!”<br>
“What for?” came the dull answer from below.<br>
“I need you.”<br>
“I won’t get up.”<br>
“Why?”<br>
“Who are you, anyway?”<br>
“You know me.”<br>
“The censor?”<br>
“Ha, ha, ha! No!”<br>
“Maybe a secret policeman?”<br>
“No, no!”<br>
“Not a critic, either?”<br>
“I am the devil.”<br>
“Well, I’ll be out in a minute.”<br>
The stone lifted itself from the grave, the earth burst open, and a skeleton came out of it. It was a very common skeleton, just the kind that students study anatomy by: only it was dirty, had no wire connections, and in the empty sockets there shone a blue phosphoric light instead of eyes. It crawled out of the ground, shook its bones in order to throw off the earth that stuck to them, making a dry, rattling noise with them, and raising up its skull, looked with its cold, blue eyes at the murky, cloud-covered sky. “I hope you are well!” said the devil.<br>
“How can I be?” curtly answered the author. He spoke in a strange, low voice, as if two bones were grating against each other.<br>
“Oh, excuse my greeting!” the devil said pleasantly.<br>
“Never mind!—But why have you raised me?”<br>
“I just wanted to take a walk with you, though the weather is very bad.<br>
“I suppose you are not afraid of catching a cold?” asked the devil.<br>
“Not at all, I got used to catching colds during my lifetime.”<br>
“Yes, I remember, you died pretty cold.”<br>
“I should say I did! They had poured enough cold water over me all my life.”<br>
They walked beside each other over the narrow path, between graves and crosses. Two blue beams fell from the author’s eyes upon the ground and lit the way for the devil. A drizzling rain sprinkled over them, and the wind freely passed between the author’s bare ribs and through his breast where there was no longer a heart.<br>
“We are going to town?” he asked the devil.<br>
“What interests you there?”<br>
“Life, my dear sir,” the author said impassionately.<br>
“What! It still has a meaning for you?”<br>
“Indeed it has!”<br>
“But why?”<br>
“How am I to say it? A man measures all by the quantity of his effort, and if he carries a common stone down from the summit of Ararat, that stone becomes a gem to him.”<br>
“Poor fellow!” smiled the devil.<br>
“But also happy man!” the author retorted coldly.<br>
The devil shrugged his shoulders. <br>
They left the churchyard, and before them lay a street,—two rows of houses, and between them was darkness in which the miserable lamps clearly proved the want of light upon earth.
“Tell me,” the devil spoke after a pause, “how do you like your grave?”
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