Obviously Kafka was not the only modern author turning to the genre of the fable to make a point. Today let’s have a look how Robert Louis Stevenson did with it.
The Devil and the Innkeeper
by Robert Louis Stevenson
Once upon a time the devil stayed at an inn, where no one knew him, for they were people whose education had been neglected. He was bent on mischief, and for a time kept everybody by the ears. But at last the innkeeper set a watch upon the devil and took him in the fact.The innkeeper got a rope’s end.
“Now I am going to thrash you,” said the innkeeper.
“You have no right to be angry with me,” said the devil. “I am only the devil, and it is my nature to do wrong.”
“Is that so?” asked the innkeeper.
“Fact, I assure you,” said the devil.
“You really cannot help doing ill?” asked the innkeeper.
“Not in the smallest,” said the devil; “it would be useless cruelty to thrash a thing like me.”
“It would indeed,” said the innkeeper.
And he made a noose and hanged the devil.
“There!” said the innkeeper.
Copyright for image: portrait of Robert Louis Stevenson by Girolamo Nerli
Hah! Take that devil! 🙂
But on a more serious note – the very direct, witty way this fable comes to a conclusion for me is typical for modern literary fables. Though Stevenson has not the ability (and maybe also not the interest) to really hone it like Kafka. Or Heinrich von Kleist but that is a tale for another day. 🙂