- As though it were a password, the men went back into the rock cave. I tried
to follow them over stone and rubble, tripped and cut my hands and knees.
Anger seized me and anger grew and overwhelmed me and became madness, but
this was my madness, which I could not control. From which dark depths did
the knowledge emerge in me about how to conjure up an evil spell? Dry camel
dung, dead grass, hard roots, in six-pointed star piles, wood and stone
rubbed together until the spark springs, the pile is lit, pleasant smelling
wild herbs into the fire, who taught me that? And where did the curses come
Bent over the fire, I spoke:
Curse you, desert monks! Curse those who sacrifice their manliness in order
to convince the Eternal One to send the Messiah. May the cold of your hearts
consume your limbs as rust eats iron. May the blood in your veins freeze to
ice. May the paralysis of death come over you in life.
The fire went out, the smoke made me drunk. I felt that something foreign
had taken possession of me and supported and strengthened me. When I came to
my senses it was morning and very cold, but I was hot with evil joy. Now war
was declared between me and everything masculine, between me and all the
pious, between me and Yeshua. I felt strong and free.
When I returned to my donkey, which I had tied on the bank of the salt-sea,
he sprang back and refused to let me mount. I had to lead him on a rope.
Otherwise such a docile animal, what was wrong with him?
My maid also rejected me. She hadn't gone to Bethany, she waited for me the
whole night. When she saw me her hair seemed to stand on end.
What's the matter? Does the smoke smell bother you?
She was silent - stiff and frightened.
And now, I said, we ride back to Magdala.
Not to Bethany?
A long way. Several days of travel. I had to sell my donkey for a new one.
The maid did not say a word to me. Obviously therefore something had
happened to me. Good. The demon whom I had called was keeping to our
Finally I arrived home.
Frank Thomas Smith