The Cause of the Delay in the Falling of the Ship Karnak

“In view of the sharp distinction in the alternatives before us, I cannot myself decide what to do, and so I have ventured to trouble you, your Right Reverence, for your competent advice.”

The captain having finished speaking, Beelzebub thought a little and then said as follows:

“Really, I do not know how to advise you, my dear Captain. Ah, yes . . . in that solar system where I existed for a long time, there is a planet called Earth. On that planet Earth arose, and still continue to arise, very strange three-centered beings. And among the beings of a continent of that planet called ‘Asia,’ there arose and existed a very wise three-brained being whom they called there ‘Mullah Nassr Eddin.’

“For each and every peculiar situation great and small in the existence of the beings there,” Beelzebub continued, “this same terrestrial sage Mullah Nassr Eddin had an apt and pithy saying.

“As all his sayings were full of the sense of truth for existence there, I also always used them there as a guide, in order to have a comfortable existence among the beings of that planet.

“And in the given case too, my dear Captain, I intend to profit by one of his wise sayings.

“In such a situation as has befallen us, he would probably say: ‘You cannot jump over your knees and it is absurd to try to kiss your own elbow.’

“I now say the same to you, and I add: there is nothing to be done; when an event is impending which arises from forces immeasurably greater than our own, one must submit.