“If you should consent in your wisdom to take up that question in detail, then, according to my understanding, our dear Hassein will have perhaps the choicest material for his better elucidation of all the abnormal strangenesses of the psyche of the three-brained beings, who in most re- cent times arise on that planet Earth which has interested him.”

Having said this and having with the tip of his tail wiped off the drops of sweat which had formed on his forehead, Ahoon became silent and adopted his usual attentive posture.

With an affectionate glance, Beelzebub looked at him and said:

“Thank you, old man, for reminding me of this. It is true that I have scarcely even mentioned that indeed harmful factor—created also by them themselves—for the final at- rophy even of those data for their being-mentation which by chance have still survived.

“All the same, old man, though it’s true that I have not so far once referred to it, that does not mean that I have not considered it at all. Having still a good deal of time before us during the period of our traveling, I should in all probability, in the course of my subsequent tales to our common favorite Hassein, have remembered in its time about that of which you have reminded me.

“However, perhaps it will be very opportune to speak just now about this contemporary terrestrial art because, as you said, during our fifth stay there in person, I was re- ally a witness of the events which gave rise to the causes of this contemporary evil there and which arose, thanks, as always, to the same learned beings there who assembled in the city of Babylon from almost the whole of the surface of that ill-fated planet.”

Having said this, Beelzebub then turned to Hassein and spoke as follows: