The Story of the Devil

The Story of the Devil

The Story of the Devil

The Story of the Devil

Excerpt

TO EDMONDO DE AMICIS

DEAR EDMONDO:

I am dedicating this book to you, who have been a soldier and have no fear of ugly faces.

This is not, properly speaking, an ordered and exhaustive history of the Devil, for I do not believe that such a history could be made a popular book; and a popular book is exactly what I have tried to make it; that is, a book that can be read without effort, yet perchance not without some pleasure, by persons who lay no claim to profound scholarship.

So I have endeavored to portray the Devil in his varied phases and in the more noteworthy incidents and performances of that long, busy and checkered life of his; and since the best years of his life, or, I might say, the years of his lusty virility and of his greatest power and activity, fall in the centuries of what we call the Middle Ages, it is within the limits of those Middle Ages -- rather ample ones, to be sure -- that I am confining the greater part of my recital.

I am relating and describing, rather than discussing; and I think that I have acted rightly in this, and that you will rather praise than blame me for so doing. Many a time, when recording those countless diabolic pranks, tricks and miracles, and the beliefs and superstitions and dreams that fed the minds of our forbears, darkened as they were by fear and ignorance, I might have indicated the physi-

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