A long time ago, in Hell, the old Devil ordered an imp to fetch him a glass of wine. The imp hurried to Hell's brewery and hurried back with a goblet full of wine. But, while handing over the glass, he tripped and fell and spilt the wine over the Devil's garb. The old Devil was mighty angry and said he," You clumsy oaf. You think this shirt of finest fabric is to be bathed in filthy swine? You must atone for your mistake. Right now, I have my hands full wreaking havoc in Heaven. So, imp, go to this place called earth. I hear the lord is creating a new creature called man. You must end this 'mankind' and only then will I let you back in hell. By the way, what's your name?"
"Drusthoff, Sire", replied the imp meekly.
"Very well, Drusthoff. I banish you from Hell. You may enter again only if you eliminate mankind from the face of the earth. If you fail to do so, I shall send you forever to Heaven. Go and report your activities in a year's time."
Drusthoff was mightily scared. He quivered from head to toe, shivered and sped away to earth, eager to fulfil his master's desire.
A year passed, and Drusthoff knocked at the gates of Hell.
The Devil saw the imp and frowned."What do you have to say?"
"Your Ugliness, things are going well. I expect mankind to disappear from earth within a year."
"O Oaf! Tell me what you have done, and I shall decide if you have done well or not!"
"Why, sire, I first went around to all the animals and asked them to attack man. Then I begged the clouds to pour rain and flash lightning till man is frightened out of his wits."
"And what does man say now?"
The imp listened carefully. Then falteringly, he said,"Sire, they are praising God! I do not believe it! Where did I go wrong, O Mightiness?"
"Fool, give man the means to fight the animals and shelter from the rain and you would have started man on his path to destruction."
The imp bowed, and as he was leaving Hell, he snicked one of the firestones that were burning brightly beside the gates of Hell.
A year passed, and Drusthoff returned to the gates of Hell.
The Devil saw him and rose expectantly.
The imp entered with downcast eyes. Said he, " Your Ugliness, I have messed it all up. All I can do is beg for your mercy."
The Devil roared, "You silly fool, you ask the devil for mercy? Before I condemn you to Heaven, narrate your exploits on earth."
"Well sir, I tried to burn down the land using the firestone I borrowed (I meant to ask your permission, your Mightiness, but somehow I forgot). But the darned thing didn't light up at all.Exasperated with the whole business, I chucked it. Then, I tried to knock down a man by hurling a log at him. But, the coarse wood struck a boulder and started rolling down the hill."
"What did you do then?,"the old Devil asked.
"I presumed it was the earth's fault that the log missed the man.So I got the man into my possesion and taught him to make holes in the ground (he calls it agriculture). I also taught him sins (though the i's are mispronounced, so he calls it science)."
"And what do you see now?"
The imp looked carefully.Then happily he said,"Sire, earth resembles Hell now. There are fires everywhere and creepers are ruling the undergrowth. But, those few who were praising God, they are still there."
"Worry not, Drusthoff. You have done splendidly well. Report again in a year's time."
A year passed and Drusthoff returned to Hell.
The Devil welcomed him and asked of him,"Well, Drusthoff. How have you fared?"
"Your Ugliness, this past year was filled with hectic activity. First I taught man to sin and sin more. Then I tamed the animals and taught them to pamper man. For science, man has started destroying the earth. Why! The other day, I found a man sitting under a tree who had the bally cheek to stop and question me. I aimed a stone at his head and knocked him out of his senses clean."
The Devil was amused and asked, "What happened to him then?"
The imp listened carefully and smiled," Why! He is considered a genius now. Goes around calling himself Newton! Man is doomed for sure."
"Indeed! Hell's population will soon grow tremendously, and I shall have new slaves. Man's fate is sealed, and you, Drusthoff, were the sealant. A remarkable job, all in all."
"Thank you, your Ugliness. But I do not deserve all the credit. Man was a willing victim. I gave him rope (which I borrowed from you of course), and he fashioned a noose and hung himself. I still have my doubts sire. Those few people who were prainsing God, they are still there...."
"Worry not, Drusthoff, you have done splendidly well. Your job's done come back to Hell. By the way, the post of manager for Hell's brewery is vacant. If you continue to provide uniform satisfaction and are tired of all this running around, I'll land you the job...."