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Screwtape on the Other Four

By Violets and Lilies

Other

Digory

Author's Note: This letter was penned just after the events of The Magician's Nephew.


My Dear Picquet,

What's this? So, your little varmint disappeared for a minute, did he? And you couldn't figure out where he went, eh? You know, I really hope that you're not just trying to cover your little forked-tail because you were goofing off. Any demon who graduated from Tempter's College ought to know the very basic fact that the Enemy neither slumbers nor sleeps. So guess what, you idiot? We demons can't take time to fool around either. You obviously fixed your grades, which is, of course, commendable, but you clearly aren't worth your salt.

But, ah, Tempter's College. I've got a lot of awful memories of that place. I'm so proud to be an alum of the finest school we have down here. And, of course, I tempted the slimy little varmints during one of the most important periods on earth—when the Enemy Himself was walking around like one of them. Oh sure, we took some huge losses, but tempters were tempters back then—and don't forget, I was one of the best. Of course, now I've been promoted so far down the Lowerarchy that I have to advise worthless morons like yourself, but doesn't Our Father Below deserve to have his best demons keeping you slipshod cretins on the wide and slippery slope?

But, where was I? Oh yes, this troubling little letter you sent me. Well, I see here that once you managed to find your little pipsqueak, he had an apple and he fed that apple to his mother and her health was restored pretty soon afterward. Well, now this is really troubling. Things just don't turn around like that without some assistance from the Enemy. If that's the case, and it very likely is, then you've got a real problem on your hands. But, relax, I'm here for you-I really care about you, you know?

I think your best option is to infect your patient with Ungratefulness. It's really fun to watch the vermin fall into Ungratefulness. Let me tell you a story to illustrate my point.

See, back in the days when the Enemy walked the earth, there were ten guys with this delightfully horrible disease called leprosy. It's a really cool disease because it hurts the little varmints so much, and back in my days, the Humans that ran the communities said that anyone who had this disease had to be cut off from everyone else and, the best part, they couldn't even get into the Temple to be with the Enemy. See, what a delightful thing it was for us when someone got leprosy?

Well, you won't believe this, but the Enemy came strolling up one day and He healed all ten of those worthless varmints. I'm quite sure that you won't be able to wrap your head around that, but that's good—your head might explode if you try to figure out why the Enemy would do something like that.

Well, luckily for us, nine of our boys were able to infect their patients with Ungratefulness, and their patients walked away from the Enemy without so much as a thank-you. Of course, there was that tenth guy, but his Tempter did a rotten job. I mean really, that idiot ruined something that could have gone down in the in the annals of Hell as one of the greatest successes we ever had. And don't try to tell me that nine out of ten is pretty good, because nine out of ten is practically nothing. Don't you get it, you stupid cretin? It's our business to bring everyone down to Our Father Below—even one loss is unacceptable. Well, did you know that the feast where we ate that loser was my very first one? Of course, I don't recall what his name was, but names aren't important down here. We're not like the Enemy, who makes it His business to know when every sparrow drops out of the sky and how many hairs are on each varmint's head. I mean, really, why does He need to know silly stuff like that anyway?

Well anyway, back to my story. See, by infecting those nine guys with Ungratefulness, we took away any chance that they might get to know the Enemy any better. That little varmint that went back only gave the Enemy more time to show him who He is and, of course, and that's never good for our side.

Now, this is important, so you need to get it through your thick little horns—if your patient becomes grateful to the Enemy, and starts to seek Him out, then you've really blown it. After all, the Enemy promises that anyone who seeks Him will find Him. So, you'd better see to it that it doesn't happen.

Yes, Picquet, you little idiot, you've really got your work cut out for you now, but take heart, you haven't lost yet. And, even better, you have me to guide you through your patient's ever brightening world.

Of course, that brings me to another point. Let's talk about your varmint's future. I think it would serve you very well if you nurtured his curiosity and set him down a path where he ends up working as a doctor or a scientist or a professor, maybe. Yes, I think you should direct his steps towards becoming a professor. Let me tell you why.

See, the more "stuff" Humans knows—or think they know—the less they think about the Enemy. They start thinking that they have all the answers to everything or that they should have the answers to everything—it's really ridiculous, of course, but that's what makes it so great. But, you'd better keep on your toes, you worthless loser, the Enemy has a very infernal way of making our best laid plans actually work for His side. I mean really, can you believe the nerve of the Enemy?

Well now, I must sign off now, but If you need any more of my brilliant advice, don't hesitate to write. You know I care so much about you, don't you?

Your affectionate Uncle,

Screwtape

Author's Note: Bible verses: Luke 17:11-19; John 8:12.

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