Issue nº 52

Different views of Hell |  Talking to the devil

Talking to the devil

How to do what I want

As soon as he dies, Juan found himself in a very beautiful place surrounded by all the comforts and beauty he had ever dreamed of. Someone dressed in white came up to him:

- You are entitled to whatever you wish: any food, pleasure, entertainment - he said.

Enchanted, Juan did everything he had dreamed of during his life. After many years filled with pleasure, he sought out the person in white:

- I've already tried everything I wished for. Now I need a job so that I can feel useful.

- I'm so sorry - said the person in white. - But that is the only thing that I cannot manage for you; there is no work here.

- How terrible! - said Juan in irritation. - I shall spend eternity dying of tedium! I'd prefer a thousand times to be in hell!

The creature in white came over to him and said in a low voice:

- And where do you think you are?

It isn't easy to be the devil

The devil said to Buddha:

- It isn't easy to be the devil. When I speak I have to use enigmas so that people do not realize the temptation. I always need to appear smart and intelligent so that people admire me. I spend lots of energy convincing a few disciples that hell is more interesting. I'm old and I would like to pass my pupils on to you.

Buddha knew that this was a trap: if he accepted the proposal, he would turn into a devil and the devil would become Buddha.

- You think it's fun to be Buddha - he answered. - Besides having to do the same things as you do, I also have to stand what my pupils do to me! They put words in my mouth that I did not say and they demand that I be wise the whole time! You could never stand a life like that!

The devil was convinced that changing roles was not really a good deal, and Buddha escaped from the temptation.

Satan sells used objects

Needing to adapt to the new times, Satan decided to get rid of a whole lot of his stock of temptations. He placed an ad in the newspaper and attended his customers all day in his workshop.

It was a fantastic stock: stones for the virtuous to stumble over, mirrors for increasing one's self-importance, and spectacles that reduced the importance of others. Some objects hanging on the wall drew a lot of attention: a dagger with a curved blade to be used on someone's back, and tape-recorders that registered only gossip and lies.

- Don't worry about the price! - shouted old Satan to the potential customers. - Take it home today and pay for it whenever you can!

One of the visitors noticed two tools lying in a corner that seemed to be quite worn and attracted little attention. But they were very expensive. Curious, he wanted to know the reason for that apparent discrepancy.

- They are worn because they are the ones that I use most of all - answered Satan with a laugh. - If they drew a lot of attention, people would know how to protect themselves.

- However, they are both worth the price I am asking for them: one is Doubt, the other is the Inferiority Complex. All the other temptations can sometimes fail, but these two always work.

Issue nº52