Black Books

M. [Anchorite/Monk]: “I would prefer not to tell you.

But it does not appear to be a dispensation of God that one can escape.

So know then that you, evil spirit, have done me a terrible deed.

You seduced me with your accursed curiosity, desirously stretching my hand after the divine mysteries, since you made me conscious at that time that I really knew nothing about them.

Your remark that I probably needed the closeness of men to arrive at the higher mysteries stunned me like infernal poison.

Soon thereafter I called the brothers of the valley together and announced to them that a messenger of God had appeared to me-so terribly had you blinded me-and commanded me to form a monastery with the brothers.

When Brother Philetus raised an objection, I refuted him with reference to the passage in the holy scriptures where it is said that it is not good for man to be alone.

So we founded the monastery-near the Nile, from where we could see the passing ships.

We cultivated fat fields and there was so much to do that the holy studies fell into oblivion.

We became voluptuous, and one day I was filled with such terrible longing to see Alexandria again.

I wanted to visit the bishop there.

But the first I was intoxicated so much by life on the ship, and then by the milling crowds on the streets of Alexandria, that I became completely lost.

As in a dream I climbed onto one of the large ships bound for Italy; I felt an insatiable greed to see the world, I drank wine, wallowed in pleasure and wholly turned into an animal.

When I climbed ashore in Naples, the Red One stood there, and I knew that I had fallen into the hands of evil-[‘]  ~The Black Books, Vol. III, Pages117-118