“Never pray to a God who answers after dark”
Last week, I read the Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, written by V. E. Schwab. It is a story of a girl named Adeline LaRue, born in 1961, in Villon. Her mother wished her to believe in the church firmly. But her attention was drawn by an old lady named Estele who taught her how to pray to ‘old gods’. Her mother wanted her to get married. But she had already fallen in love with a man whom she conjured up in her dreams. On the day of her wedding, Adeline escapes and runs away into the forest. She prays to ‘old gods’ to save her life. She completely forgot Estele’s warning-- “Never pray to a God who answers after dark”. Her prayer was answered by the Devil. He grants her freedom to live as long as she wanted, after which he shall have her soul.
Addie lived a lonely life for 300 years; her youth was prolonged and preserved. She saw wars. She saw technology and gadgets evolve. She lived a cursed, invisible life as no one could ever remember her. Only because she made a deal with the Devil himself…
Old lady Estele was a believer of old gods, who swim in the river, grow in the field, under the saplings in spring and in the veins that grow up. This hints towards animism- nature is animated and alive- an anthropological theory proposed by Sir Edward Taylor. Soul or spirit exists not only in humans but also in other animals, plants, rocks, rivers, mountains and other such geographical features. Hence the water sprites, vegetation deities, tree spirits etc exist. People who believe in Animism are hence 'nature worshippers'.
Similar literary work
There are other folk tales that have described how the Devil has tempted people to sell him their souls in return for a boon or help of any kind.
There is one such fairy-tale written by the Grimm brothers' which is titled “The Devil and his Grandmother”. In the story, three soldiers deserted their king and hid in the cornfields from the sight of the army. The Devil comes to their rescue, in disguise of a dragon. The Devil made a deal with the soldiers that they can have their freedom for seven years, after which he shall take their souls away. The soldiers plead to find another way. Devil says that end of seven years he shall ask them three riddles, if the soldiers can answer them correctly, he shall set them free. In the end, the soldiers take help from the Devil’s Grandmother to get the correct answers to the riddles. On the day, the soldiers knew the correct answers to all the Devil’s riddles. So, the Devil had to set the soldiers free.
Given a chance, would you ever make a deal with the Devil?
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