Back to Methuselah eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 333 pages of information about Back to Methuselah.

EVE.  Why do you want to drive him away?  He is mine.  I made him out of my own body.  I want to see my work sometimes.

ADAM.  You made Abel also.  He killed Abel.  Can you bear to look at him after that?

CAIN.  Whose fault was it that I killed Abel?  Who invented killing?  Did I?  No:  he invented it himself.  I followed your teaching.  I dug and dug and dug.  I cleared away the thistles and briars.  I ate the fruits of the earth.  I lived in the sweat of my brow, as you do.  I was a fool.  But Abel was a discoverer, a man of ideas, of spirit:  a true Progressive.  He was the discoverer of blood.  He was the inventor of killing.  He found out that the fire of the sun could be brought down by a dewdrop.  He invented the altar to keep the fire alive.  He changed the beasts he killed into meat by the fire on the altar.  He kept himself alive by eating meat.  His meal cost him a day’s glorious health-giving sport and an hour’s amusing play with the fire.  You learnt nothing from him:  you drudged and drudged and drudged, and dug and dug and dug, and made me do the same.  I envied his happiness, his freedom.  I despised myself for not doing as he did instead of what you did.  He became so happy that he shared his meal with the Voice that had whispered all his inventions to him.  He said that the Voice was the voice of the fire that cooked his food, and that the fire that could cook could also eat.  It was true:  I saw the fire consume the food on his altar.  Then I, too, made an altar, and offered my food on it, my grains, my roots, my fruit.  Useless:  nothing happened.  He laughed at me; and then came my great idea:  why not kill him as he killed the beasts?  I struck; and he died, just as they did.  Then I gave up your old silly drudging ways, and lived as he had lived, by the chase, by the killing, and by the fire.  Am I not better than you? stronger, happier, freer?

ADAM.  You are not stronger:  you are shorter in the wind:  you cannot endure.  You have made the beasts afraid of us; and the snake has invented poison to protect herself against you.  I fear you myself.  If you take a step towards your mother with that spear of yours I will strike you with my spade as you struck Abel.

EVE.  He will not strike me.  He loves me.

ADAM.  He loved his brother.  But he killed him.

CAIN.  I do not want to kill women.  I do not want to kill my mother.  And for her sake I will not kill you, though I could send this spear through you without coming within reach of your spade.  But for her, I could not resist the sport of trying to kill you, in spite of my fear that you would kill me.  I have striven with a boar and with a lion as to which of us should kill the other.  I have striven with a man:  spear to spear and shield to shield.  It is terrible; but there is no joy like it.  I call it fighting.  He who has never fought has never lived.  That is what has brought me to my mother today.

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Back to Methuselah from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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