“These are thy companions. Thou shalt dwell with them, and without torture, unless thy evil deeds be turned to good to torture me. Know that thou hast passed from mortal life, and thy deeds of evil have brought thee my favor. If thou hast been successful in reaping the evil thou has sown, thou shalt be my friend. But know that for every good thing that comes from it, thou shalt be tortured with whips of scorpions.”
So the man with the dead soul walked through rows of demons with whips in their hands; but no arm was raised to strike, for he had sown his evil well and the king did not frown on him.
Then one day a single whip of scorpions fell upon his shoulders. Pain-racked he looked at the king and saw that his face was twisted with agony: then he knew that somewhere an evil deed of his own had been turned to good. And even while he looked the whips began to fall mercilessly from all sides and the king, frantic with agony, cried out:
“Tear aside the veil. Let him see.”
In an instant the whips ceased to fall and the man with the dead soul saw all the Earth before him—and understood. A generation had passed since he had gone, but his keen eye sought and found his wealth. The finger of God had touched it and behold good had sprung from it everywhere. It was building temples to the mighty God where the poor could worship; and the hated Cross met his eye wherever he looked, dazzling his vision and blinding him with its light. Wherever the Finger of God glided the good came forth; the hungry were nourished, the naked clothed, the frozen warmed and the truth preached. Before him was the good growing from his impotent evil every moment and multiplying as it grew; and behind him he heard the howls of the tortured demons and the impatient hisses of the whips that hungered for his back.
Shuddering he closed his eyes, but a voice ringing on the air made him open them again. The voice was strangely like his own, yet purified and sweet with sincerity and goodness. It was singing the “Miserere,” and the words beat him backward to the demons as they arose.
He caught a glimpse of the singer, a young man clad in a brown habit of penance with the cord of purity girt about him. His eyes looked once into the eyes of the man with the dead soul. They were the eyes of the one to whom he had left his legacy of hate and wealth and evil—his own and his only son.
Shuddering, the man with the dead soul awoke from his dream, and behold, he was lying in the desert where the gold tempted him from out of the great rocks and the diamonds shone in the sunlight. He looked at them not at all, but straightway he went to where good men sang the “Miserere” and were clad in brown robes. And as he went it came to pass that his dead soul leaped in the joy of a new resurrection.