Study of Beelzebub's Tales




1 The Arousing of Thought


So when he would come in the morning to the rope with which he released the steam for the whistle, he would, before taking hold of the rope and pulling it, wave his hand in all directions and solemnly, like a Mohammedan mullah from a minaret, loudly cry:


31 The Sixth and Last Sojourn of Beelzebub on the Planet Earth


“This new invention there, this language Esperanto, might however do for our highly esteemed Mullah Nassr Eddin for composing the amusing anecdotes he tells his hens…!


“In short, this promising beginning of theirs, in this business of establishing one common planetary language, changed nothing there in their ‘height of absurdity’ and everything remained as before down till now, that is, this comparatively petty planet, with a petty ‘half-dead terra firma,’ continues to remain, as again our dear teacher Mullah Nassr Eddin says, ‘a thousand-tongued hydra.’


34 Russia


“Even before my arrival in Ispahan, I already knew that the esteemed Mullah Nassr Eddin had left for the town ‘Talaialtnikoom’ to stay with the stepson of the eldest daughter of his godfather.


“Then our wise Mullah, without uttering a word, got up heavily and having taken me by the sleeve led me to the edge of the roof and then winking cunningly at me with his left eye, he turned my attention to a big ‘cavalcade’ which was rapidly galloping past and which consisted, as I later found out, chiefly of beings who are called ‘cossacks’ belonging to that same large community there, ‘Russia.’


“When the said cavalcade had moved off a long way, Mullah first of all uttering his favorite saying: ‘So-and-so-and-so-must-be; do-not-do-what-must-not-be,’ and having also uttered his favorite exclamation, somewhat resembling ‘Zrrt!!,’ he returned to his place and suggested to me that I should do the same, then, having arranged the still smoldering charcoal on his ‘Kalyan,’ he sighed deeply and pronounced the following tirade, which, as always, was not immediately understandable.


“‘Just now, in the company of a large number of “well-bred-turkeys,” a “crow” of this country passed by, who although one of the chiefs and of high rank, was yet nevertheless rumpled and badly molting.


42 Beelzebub in America


“‘According to the explanations once given me by my “Mullah uncle,” whom those around him called behind his back “a Mullah of the old school,” it seems that, two or three centuries ago, owing to causes evidently ensuing from certain higher World-laws, men began to make war on each other everywhere on the Earth, and especially among us in Asia, more intensively than usual, and at the same time, somehow, in most of the men, the feeling of piety began very distinctly to decline and in some of them entirely disappeared.


“‘Now that we have touched upon this subject, allow me, respected Doctor, to digress, and tell you here the reflections, in my view very interesting and wise, of this same Mullah uncle of mine concerning the causes in general of the arising of this evil and scourge of contemporary civilization.


“‘Once, on one of the days of Ramadan, when we were conversing as usual while awaiting the call of the Mullah of our district announcing the meal hour, and we happened to be speaking about this human “scourge,” he then, among other things, said:


43 Beelzebub’s Survey of the Process of the Periodic Reciprocal Destruction of Men, or Beelzebub’s Opinion of War


“And as regards the third kind of the buildings of the beings of that time, which were called Anoroparionikima, as I already told you, the beings then called the ‘third sex,’ for whom these buildings were erected, our Mullah Nassr Eddin would call ‘misconceptions,’ or beings who are ‘neither one thing nor another.’


“Among these middle-sex beings were beings both of the male sex and the female sex.


“These were beings who, for various reasons, already lacked the possibility either of perfecting themselves or serving Nature; they were, as is said in a saying of our same Mullah Nassr Eddin, ‘Neither a candle for the Angel, nor a poker for the devil.’


“Those beings of the male sex were put into these houses for a certain time who, for some reason or other, were already entirely deprived of the possibility of ever consciously contemplating; and of the number of the beings of the female sex, those were placed in them who generally either did not ‘menstruate’ at all, or in whom ‘menstruation’ occurred abnormally; likewise those who in the sense of their sexual desires became transformed at certain periods into, as it was said there, ‘Knaneomeny,’ or, as our dear Mullah would say, ‘into veritable mares in the spring.’


“Among the beings then on the continent Atlantis, conceptions of several definite, very peculiar symptoms were current, according to which the given beings were recognized and confined in the Anoroparionikima.