The First “Growl”

“But for certain reasons they could not treat this writer in this way, and so they got excited, and hemmed and hawed about what they should do.

“Some proposed that they should simply shut him up where many ‘rats’ and ‘lice’ breed; others proposed to send him to ‘Timbuktu’; and so on and so forth; but in the end they decided to anathematize this writer together with his ‘Gospel,’ publicly and punctiliously according to all the rules, and moreover with the very same ‘anathema’ with which no doubt they would have anathematized you also if they had learned how you had insulted them.

“And so, my boy, the strangeness of the psyche of the contemporary three-brained beings of this peculiar planet was revealed in the given instance in this, that when this writer and his ‘Gospel’ had been publicly anathematized with this ‘anathema,’ the result for him was, as the highly esteemed Mullah Nassr Eddin once again says: ‘just roses, roses.’

“What occurred was as follows:

“The ordinary beings of the said community, seeing the fuss made about this writer by the power-possessing beings, became very greatly interested in him and avidly bought and read not only this new ‘Gospel’ of his but also all the books he had written before.

“Whereupon, as usually happens with the three-centered beings breeding on this peculiar planet, all the other interests of the beings of the said community gradually died down, and they talked and thought only of this writer.

“And as it also happens—whereas some praised him to the skies, others condemned him; and the result of these discussions and conversations was that the numbers interested in him grew not only among the beings of his own community but among the beings of other communities also.