Friday, December 30, 2011

Give Her Hell by Donald A. Wollheim

The narrator physically and verbally abuses his wife and daughter because, "woman know only one master." When his daughter runs away at sixteen he arranges to have her put in an asylum for the rest of her life. His wife eventually runs away with his law partner, who fights to gain custody of the daughter and  looks to sell the narrator out in court. So the narrator turns to the Devil. He makes a deal to have his daughter returned to the asylum, his wife returned home, and his partner killed. The Devil agrees, but wants his soul. The narrator bargains to be reincarnated after his current life is over. The deal is struck, and that very night, the law partner dies in a fire, and his wife escapes the house, but is unable to divorce her husband because of the scandalous pictures taken at the scene. The narrator has it put in his will that the daughter remain in the asylum past his death. As the narrator lies on his deathbed, he complains of Satan "cheating" him. He is to be his own daughter.

Devious little story. "Punishment fits the crime?" You have to hand it to Satan on this one.

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