Study of Beelzebub's Tales




23 The Fourth Personal Sojourn of Beelzebub on the Planet Earth


“I very well remember that this ‘agitation of mind’ concerning the origin of these apes occurred there among them for the first time when, as they also like to express it, their ‘center of culture’ was Tikliamish.

“The beginning of that ‘agitation of mind’ there was the wiseacring of a certain ‘learned being’ of new formation there named Menitkel.


“This Menitkel then became a learned being, firstly because his childless aunt was an excellent what is called matchmaker and mixed a great deal with power-possessing beings, and secondly, because when by age he was approaching the ‘threshold of the being’ of a responsible being, he received on his birthday a gift of a book entitled Manual of Bon Ton and Love Letter Writing. Being materially secure and therefore quite free, thanks to an inheritance left him by his uncle, a former pawnshop proprietor, he out of boredom compiled a massive and erudite work in which he ‘spun out,’ concerning the origin of these apes, an elaborate theory with every kind of ‘logical proof,’ but of course with such ‘logical proofs’ as could be perceived and crystallized only in the Reasons of those freaks who have taken your fancy.


“This Menitkel then ‘proved’ by his theory that these ‘fellow apes’ of theirs had descended neither more nor less than from what are called ‘people who became wild.’

“And the other terrestrial beings of that period, as it had already become proper to them, implicitly believed this ‘Auntie’s darling’ without any essence-criticism whatsoever, and from that time on, this question which had then agitated the strange Reason of your favorites, became a subject of discussion and fantasying, and existed right up to what is called the ‘seventh-in-turn great general planetary process of reciprocal destruction.’


“Thanks to this maleficent idea, there was even fixed in the instincts of most of these unfortunates at that period still another abnormal what is called ‘dictatory factor,’ which began to engender in their common presences the false feeling that these ape-beings were presumably ‘sacred’; and the abnormal factor engendering this sacrilegious impulse, also passing by inheritance from generation to generation, has reached the instincts of very many beings even of the present time.


“This false idea that arose and was fixed there owing to the said ‘pawnshop progeny’ existed during nearly two of their centuries, and became an inseparable part of the Reason of the majority of them; and only various events proceeding from the mentioned general planetary process effaced it until it ultimately completely disappeared from their common presences.


“But when what is called their ‘cultured existence’ was concentrated on the continent named Europe, and when the time of the maximum intense manifestation of the peculiar illness there named ‘to-wiseacre,’ had again come round—which illness by the way had already long before become subject to the fundamental cosmic law of Heptaparaparshinokh, according to which it had, in respect of intensity, also to function with a certain periodicity—then, to the grief of three-brained beings of the whole of the universe, that Ape question, namely, the question who is descended from whom, again arose, and having become crystallized, again became a part of the presence of the abnormal Reason of your favorites.


“The stimulus for the revival there of this Ape question was this time also a ‘learned’ being, and of course also ‘great,’ but now a ‘learned’ being of quite a ‘new formation’ named Darwin.

“And this ‘great’ learned being, basing his theory on that same logic of theirs, began to ‘prove’ exactly the opposite of what Menitkel had said, namely, that it was they themselves who were descended from these Mister Apes.


“And as for the objective reality of the theories of both these ‘great’ terrestrial ‘learned beings,’ I am reminded of one of the wise sayings of our esteemed Mullah Nassr Eddin, namely:


“‘They were both very successful, though of course not without luck, in finding the authentic godmother of the incomparable Scheherazade on an old dunghill.’