The Soldier and Death Part III
The Soldier and Death Part III
The soldier sat down at one of the dusty tables waiting for someone to appear, he waited until twelve midnight when the big dusty grandfather clock in the corner struck its gong so hard that dust came tumbling down off it.
The soldier could hear a hissing noise in the dark, there was movement around him, so he lit a match and from its light he suddenly saw at least twelve small demons sitting around the table with him. These demons had shiny red skin, hoofs for feet, black leathery wings and evil little grinning faces with beady yellow eyes and pointy teeth. The soldier kept whistling apparently unstartled by the appearance of these demons.
One of the demons leaned over the table and hissed to the other ones, “We have a visitor” and another one said “and he’s whistling”.
“That’s a nice whistle,” growled another of the demons. “I want to have it”.
The soldier lit the lamp above the table with the match and said “Hello” in a friendly manner to all the demons surrounding him.
“Hello” said all the demons back laughing and cackling and dancing on the table.
“I hear you like a game of cards” said the soldier.
The demons laughed again and agreed that they did love cards. The soldier pulled out the cards the old beggar had given him.
“What shall we play for”?
“His soul” said a demon with a delighted tone. “His whistle” hissed another. “His teeth” said the short round-faced one at his shoulder pointing with its clawed finger at the soldier’s mouth. “I collect teeth” he added.
“Fare enough,” replied the soldier “And what will you stake”?
“We have forty barrels of gold,” replied what seemed to be the head demon. “Is that good”?
“Very good” replied the soldier.
The demons all started cackling again “fetch the coffers,” shouted the head demon and the other demons flew out of the room through a door to another room and pulled open a hatch on the floor. They proceeded to pull barrels of gold from the cellar. They dragged the barrels to their side of the table.
“Let’s play then,” said the soldier, and the demons all through in their coins.
The soldier dealt the cards, and won. The demons grumbled and moaned.
The soldier dealt the cards again, and won again! The demons started to get really cranky. He kept dealing out the cards and he kept winning game after game. One of them accused the soldier of cheating and another one exclaimed incredulously that he was cheating himself but was still loosing! The demons cheated to high heaven and low hell but they were still lost every hand. They all fumed with anger, they were so angry that their faces seemed to be getting redder and the soldier couldn’t tell if the smoke was coming from their cigarettes or their ears.
By dawn the forty barrels of gold were stacked behind the soldier’s side of the table. The first bells from the churchyard started ringing and the soldier got to his feet. “Well I suppose we better call it a day then” he said.
“No”, cried the demon, “I say we better make it breakfast, with you as the meal!”
The soldier leant over the table and said, “Lets make sure who’s eating who”, and slapped his sack onto the table. “Do you know what this is”? He asked the demons.
“Why, it’s a sack”, replied one, “Just a sack” agreed the others.
“Well then by the grace of god get in it”, bellowed the soldier.
The demons all started getting dragged towards the sack by some kind of invisible force. They struggled against it tooth and nail screaming and carrying on but in a few seconds they were all inside the sack and the soldier was pulling the drawstring tight and tying it in a knot.