The Soldier and Death Part IV
The Soldier and Death Part IV
He picked up the bag and started bashing it against the walls and the floor, dropping it and kicking it and sitting on it. The demons screamed in pain, begging him to stop.
“More”? Shouted the soldier at the sack.
“No no no” The demons groaned and protested from inside.
“Will that be the end of your mischief in these parts”? The soldier opened a crack in the top of the sack and the head demons’ face appeared. “Let us out please, we are bashed to bits”. The demons flew out of the sack in every direction fleeing the company of the soldier and his sack as fast as they could.
The soldier caught one of them by the hoof and dragged him back down. The demon screamed and protested scared “let me go, let me go”.
“I won’t let you go my boy until you sware to serve me faithfully”.
“I sware, I sware” pleaded the demon.
“I’ll hold you to your promise” shouted the soldier after the demon as it flew off to follow the others back into the dark recesses of the castle. He looked down and realised he was still holding the demons’ hoof.
The soldier was rewarded by the Tsar for his services to the village for ridding it of its demon problem.
Years on the soldier lived in a palace with his wife and son but ill fortune had come upon them and their only son had fallen ill with a fever. They sat beside his bed every day hoping he would recover, sobbing and growing thin with worry. They called for doctors, apothecaries’ healers and everyone they could think of to try to heal their son but soon he passed into a coma. Priests prayed over his bed with his parents, praying for his recovery.
“Oh what should we do”? Sobbed the mother, “My lips are sore from praying and my knees are weary from kneeling.”
“I have lost my whistle from worrying” Replied the soldier. He too hung his head and sobbed into his hands.
“It’s the devil that did this to us” Cried the boy’s mother.
The soldier’s thoughts turned to those demons he had banished from the village many years ago and he got up and ran into one of the many rooms in the castle and started rummaging through an old chest. “Ah,” he pulled the hoof out of the chest from the demon he made sware to him he would serve him faithfully.
“Where are you demon?” the soldier shouted at the air. The demon appeared before him in a puff of sulphurous smoke.
“What do you want?” said the demon in a begrudging manner.
“I want you to heal my son,” replied the soldier. “If you do this for me I will give you your foot back.”
The demon eyed his hoof; the soldier could tell that he longed to have it back. “I will do what you ask offcourse, I swore to you I would.”
The demon followed the soldier back to his son’s room where his wife sat sobbing. She looked alarmed by the appearance of a demon but the soldier explained to her that he was here to help their son. The demon pulled out a glass from nowhere and it was full of water.
“Come and look through this glass at your boy,” He said beckoning the soldier forward. “What do you see?”
“I see a small creature at the foot of his bed.” Replied the soldier.
“Ah good, then your boy will recover,” said the demon, “It’s when Death comes to the head you must be worried. Sprinkle some of the water over your son.”
The soldier did as the demon said and the boy awoke with a smile on his face, completely cured. His mother picked him up and hugged him, tears of joy running down both their faces.
“Can I have my foot back then?” asked the demon.
“Most certainly” replied the soldier handing him the foot.
“Will there be anything else?” the demon said in a forced polite manner.
“Yes, if you give me that glass I will release you from your promise.” Replied the soldier.
“Okay then.” Said the demon grinning and passed the soldier the glass and was gone.