Fate of Fortune Archive

The Fate of Fortune 03: Final Wish

Posted March 8, 2023 By John C Wright

The Fate of Fortune is now posted.

Part 03 of 03.

Sometimes writers are simple in our motives. The unfortunate scholar here is named “Fortune” for a simple reason: he is Faust which is Latin for “fortunate.” Fortunatus of the Ever-full Purse from the Grey Fairy book of Andrew Lang has a name of similar meaning, though he comes to no bad end.

I wrote this story when I was an atheist, but, looking back, it seems to me to be nonetheless theologically sound.

As when the White Witch offers to make Edmund a king of Narnia — without telling him that, as a Son of Adam, he is already rightfully a king of Narnia — or the Green Witch offers the same to Prince Rilian, or when the Devil offers Christ the kingdoms of a world he already owns, or to be fed of bread when he is already himself the bread of life, it amuses me how the creature grants, and grants easily, the fateful, final wish, asking only a single drop of blood in return.

Devils in literature have been portrayed a pagan heroes or statesmen, as in Milton’s PARADISE LOST, or a petty and vicious bureaucrats, as in CS Lewis’ THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS. As best I can tell from real reports from real exorcists, the portrayal is more accurate of the Devil in Dante’s INFERNO, where is a creature of pure misery, weeping and gnawing on the damned, trapped in ice at the core of the world, awaiting judgement — in this tale, the creatures of hell are likened to prisoners behind bars, hoping to lure the innocent into reach.

I reach the last page of my unpublished stories. Whether and how I shall continue to post a Wednesday sample of my wares is get to be decided.
But I certainly enjoy posting yarns I have written. I may continue, merely with snippets of some previous work, such as excerpts from MOTH AND COBWEB.

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The Fate of Fortune 02: First Wishes

Posted March 1, 2023 By John C Wright

The Fate of Fortune is now posted.

Part 02 of 03.

It is customary in Deal with the Devil stories that the wishes asked of the devil actually be granted. That is part of the allure.

By odd coincidence, I read the following tale to my children as part of Sunday reading just this week, from the Legenda Aurea of Jacob de Voragine. This is from the tale of the Life of Saint Basil. I repeat the tale here as a Lenten gift for my readers, since it is a story of repentance.

I make a comment below, after the conclusion of the tale.

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The Fate of Fortune 01: Futile Wishes

Posted February 22, 2023 By John C Wright

The Fate of Fortune is now posted.

Part 01 of 03.

The motif of a pact with the Devil is an ancient one, dating back to the tale of Saint Theophilus the Penitent. This yarn was penned when I was a first year in law school, in my atheist days.

I attempt no novel variation on the theme: Even an unbeliever sees such tales can end only one way.

The tale portrays the motive and method of Mephistopheles as blatant and blunt. Since the victim here is an intellectual, he does not see he is being sold what he already owns.

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