Beelzebub’s Flight to the Planet Earth for the Fifth Time
“To be able more or less clearly to represent to yourself the rate at which the length of their existence declined during this time, it is enough for you to know that when I left this solar system for ever, the maximum length of their existence was already from seventy to ninety of their years.
“And latterly, if anybody should exist even as long as this, all the rest of the beings of that peculiar planet would already consider that he had existed quite ‘a good long time.’
“And if anybody happened to exist a little over a century he would be exhibited in their museums, and of course all the rest of the beings there would know about him because his photograph, and descriptions of the manner of his existence even to the enumeration of each of his movements, would continually be found in all their what are called ‘newspapers.’
“And so, my boy, since, at the time when I suddenly constated such a fact there, I had no special business on the planet Mars and it was quite impossible to try to probe this novel peculiarity by means of the Teskooano, I therefore decided to go there myself in order perhaps to clear up for myself there on the spot the causes of this
“Several Martian days after my decision, I again ascended there on the ship Occasion.
“At the time of this fifth descent of mine in person to your planet, their ‘center-for-the-incoming-and-the-outgoing-results-of-the-perfecting-of-being-rumination’ or, as they themselves call it, their ‘Center-of-Culture’ was already the city of Babylon; so it was just there that I decided to go.