Study of Beelzebub's Tales




1 The Arousing of Thought


He discharged the last words with such a shower of saliva that it was as if my face were exposed to the action of an “atomizer”—not of “Ersatz” production—invented by the Germans for dyeing material with aniline dyes.


29 The Fruits of Former Civilizations and the Blossoms of the Contemporary


“As examples of the very many particularly maleficent inventions of those German beings, let us take just those five what are called ‘chemical substances,’ now existing there under the names of (1) satkaine, (2) aniline, (3) cocaine, (4) atropine and (5) alisarine, which chemical substances are used there at the present time by the beings of all the continents and islands as our dear Mullah Nassr Eddin says: ‘Even-without-any-economizing.’


“The second of the chemical substances I enumerated, namely, ‘aniline,’ is that chemical coloring substance, by means of which most of those surplanetary formations can be dyed from which the three-brained beings there make all kinds of objects they need in the process of their ordinary being-existence.


“Although thanks to that invention your favorites can now dye any object any color, yet, what the lastingness of the existence of these objects becomes—ah, just there lies their famous Bismarck’s ‘pet cat.’


“Before that maleficent aniline existed, the objects produced by your favorites for their ordinary existence, such, for instance, as what are called ‘carpets,’ ‘pictures,’ and various articles of wool, wood, and skin, were dyed with simple vegetable dyes, which they had learned during centuries how to obtain, and these just-enumerated objects would formerly last from five to ten or even fifteen of their centuries.

“But now, thanks merely to the aniline, or to dyes of other names into which this same aniline enters as the basis, there remains of the objects dyed with new colors at most, after about thirty years, only perhaps the memory of them.


“I must also say that the beings of the contemporary community Germany have been the cause not only that thanks to this maleficent aniline the productions of all the contemporary beings of this planet are quickly destroyed, but also that productions from ancient times have almost ceased to exist on that ill-fated planet.


34 Russia


“The beings of Germany were in this case guilty owing to the fact that when they invented their famous aniline dyes, they overlooked one of the specific peculiarities of these dyes.


“The point is that with the help of these dyes it is possible to dye all natural colors, except one only, namely, genuine natural black, any other color.


“And it is thanks to this lack of foresight in these German beings that the scandalous misfortune for the poor Russians came about—that is to say, it is owing to the fact that the feathers of the crows are dyed by nature, as it ‘unsuspectingly-and-unexpectedly’ turned out, just a genuine black, which, even with these aniline dyes invented by themselves, cannot possibly be dyed any other color owing to the said vile imperfection of these dyes—that these poor Russian ‘crows’ cannot therefore possibly become peacocks. And what is worst of all, having ceased to be crows and not yet having become peacocks, they willy-nilly turn into the bird turkey, which expresses ideally, as has been formulated by our dear teacher, ‘Half-with-a-quarter-plus-three-quarters.’


42 Beelzebub in America


“Only after a while, when you have finally managed to take in various details of the appearance of these displays and somehow start reflecting again, can you clearly constate how much greater is the variety of color and shape of the jars in these American displays of fruit preserves than in the mentioned displays of the continent of Europe; and this is evidently due to the fact that, in the common psyche of the beings of this new group, the combination resulting from the intermixture of former independent races happens to correspond more completely to a better perception and a thorough cognition of the sense and beneficence of the achievements of the Reason both of the beings of the contemporary community of Germany in respect of the chemical substances they have invented, called there ‘aniline’ and ‘alisarine,’ as well as of the beings of the community France in respect of ‘perfumery.’