“The Author And The Robber”, Fable by Ivan. A. Krylov

Russian Fable

Krylov and his fables

Russian LiteratureChildren BooksRussian PoetryIvan. A. KrylovContents

< < < The Comb
The Hind And The Dervish > > >

The Author And The Robber

IN the gloomy realm of shadows, two sinners appeared before the judges for sentence at the very same time.

The one was a Robber, who used to extract tribute on the highway, and who had at last come to the gallows ; the other an Author, covered with glory, who had infused a subtle poison into his works, had promoted atheism, and had preached immorality, being, like the Siren, sweet-voiced, and, like the Siren, dangerous. In Hades judical ceremonies are brief; there are no useless delays. Sentence was pronounced immediately. Тwо huge iron cauldrons were suspended in the air by two tremendous iron chains ; in each of these one of the sinners was placed. Under the Robber a great pile of wood was heaped up, and then one of the Furies herself set it on fire, kindling such a terrible flame, that the very stone in the roof of the infernal halls began to crack. The Authors sentence did not seem to be a severe one. Under him, at first, a litrie fire scarcely glowed; but, the longer it burned, the larger it became.

Centuries have now gone by, but the fire has not gone out. Beneath the Robber the flame has long ago been extinguished ; beneath the Author it grows hourly worse and worse. Seeing that there is no mitigation of his torments, the writer at last cries out amidst them that there is no justice among the gods; that he had filled the world with his renown; and that, if he had written a little too freely, he had been punished too much for it ; and that he did not think he had sinned more than the Robber. Then before him, in all her ornaments, with snakes hissing amid her hair, and with bloody scourges in her hands, appeared one of the three Infernal Sisters.

“Wretch !” she exclaims, ” dost thou upbraid Providence?

Dost thou compare thyself with this robber? His crime is as nothing compared with thine. Only as long as he lived did his cruelty and lawlessness render him hurtful. But thou — long ago have thy bones turned to dust, yet the sun never rises without bringing to light fresh evils of which thou art the cause. The poison of thy writings not only does not weaken, but, spreading abroad, it becomes more malignant as years roll by. Look there !” and for a moment she enables him to look upon the world; “behold the crimes, the misery, of which thou art the cause. Look at those children who have brought shame upon their families, who have reduced their parents to despair. By whom were their heads and hearts corrupted? By thee. Who strove to rend asunder the bonds of society, ridiculing as childish follies all ideas of the sanctity of marriage and the right of authority and law, and rendering them responsible for all human misfortunes?

Thou art the man ! Didst thou not dignify unbelief with the name of enlightenment? Didst thou not place vice and passion in the most charming and alluring of lights ? And now look ! — a whole country, perverted by thy teaching, is full of murder and robbery, of strife and rebellion, and is being led onwards by thee to ruin. For every drop of that country’s tears and blood thou art to blame. And now dost thou dare to hurl thy blasphemies against the gods ? How much evil have thy books yet to bring upon the world ? Continue, then, to suffer ; for here the measure of thy punishment shall be according to thy deserts.” Thus spoke the angry Fury, and slammed down the cover on the cauldron.

< < < The Comb
The Hind And The Dervish > > >

Russian LiteratureChildren BooksRussian PoetryIvan. A. KrylovContents

Copyright holders –  Public Domain Book

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