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  • Jul 14, 2014
  • Updated: 6:27pm

A pact with the devil

PUBLISHED : Monday, 16 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 16 April, 2012, 12:00am

The scholar Faust did not care about others. He had no respect for humans or for any god. The only thing Faust respected was knowledge and, from an early age, he had one goal in life. He wished to become the most knowledgeable man the human race had ever known. How much knowledge could a man's brain hold? Faust intended to devote his life to finding out.

He read books, charts and ancient documents. He questioned teachers until they almost dropped from fatigue. Knowledge was a powerful drug that rushed through his mind and body like a fierce, deep river.

Time meant nothing to Faust. He recognised neither day nor night, neither month nor year. He mastered the world's known languages, and he studied the stars and the secrets of long-lost magic potions. He kept himself in the cellars of his family's ancient castle, and people forgot about his existence. But deep in the bowels of the Earth, Faust began to play a dangerous game.

He had discovered an ancient spell that promised to call up the Devil from the depths of Hell. In partnership with the Lord of All Things Evil, Faust knew he could gain power and knowledge that no human had ever possessed. Faust began to mix his potions and cast his spell to summon the Devil.

When the Devil appeared, Faust reeled back in shock from the terrifying figure standing in front of him. A thundering cry echoed around the damp walls of the cellar.

'I am Mephistopheles. Why have you summoned me, Faust? No human has done this for centuries. What do you want from me?'

'I want all the knowledge you can give me,' shouted Faust. 'I want power over all the mortals. Give me knowledge, power and riches. Make me a Superman!'

'This I can do,' hollered Mephistopheles. 'But your request has a price that you will not want to pay.'

'Anything! I will pay anything if you do what I ask,' implored Faust, falling to his knees on the stone floor.

'For one whole day from midnight to midnight, I will give you everything you ask for. Riches, properties and knowledge. At the end of that day, I will ask for payment. I will take your soul back with me to Hell.'

Faust did not hesitate. He believed that he could easily trick Mephistopheles when he came to collect his payment. Faust signed the Devil's contract with blood. It did not worry him that souls in Hell experienced eternal torment. He would outwit Mephistopheles.

The Devil kept his bargain, and for 24 hours, Faust experienced wealth, knowledge and pleasure beyond his imagination. As time ticked by, he became fat and slow, weighed down by the Devil's riches. His mind would not function, and he could think of no way of getting out of his bargain with the Lord of Hell.

A fire was beginning to burn at the back of Faust's mind. He nailed the cellar door shut, and smashed the clock on the wall. Faust grabbed a gun and waited, sobbing and writhing around on the floor.

Eleven o'clock. Twelve o'clock. The broken clock began to chime, and suddenly the stone floor under his body shattered into thousands of pieces and flames consumed the cellar.

The following morning, Faust's servants could not find their master. He had vanished. A strong smell of burning lingered in the halls and rooms of Castle Faust for many days. And each night, as all the clocks in the castle struck midnight, the sound of screaming echoed through the darkness of the empty castle.

But there was nobody there to hear the screams. All the servants had gathered up their belongings and fled. Nothing remained of the man who had made a pact with the Devil - apart from his screams that could be heard every midnight until the end of time.

Comprehension

1 What nationality was the scholar Faust?

2 What was his life's quest?

3 Where was Faust when he called up the Devil?

4 What pact did Faust make with Mephistopheles?

5 How did Faust get out of the bargain he had made?

Answers:

1 Faust was German.

2 He intended to become the most knowledgeable man on Earth.

3 He was in the cellars of his castle.

4 Faust promised to give the Devil his soul in return for vast knowledge.

5 He couldn't. Faust's soul was taken to Hell.

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