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Giant Despair and Doubting Castle. Part 21.


                                                              Part 21.




    Now there was, not far from the place where they lay, a castle, called

   Doubting Castle, the owner whereof was Giant Despair, and it was in his



   grounds they now were sleeping: wherefore he, getting up in the morning

   early, and walking up and down in his fields, caught Christian and

   Hopeful asleep in his grounds. Then with a grim and surly voice, he bid

   them awake, and asked them whence they were, and what they did in his

   grounds. They told him they were pilgrims, and that they had lost their

   way. Then said the giant, You have this night trespassed on me by

   trampling in and lying on my grounds, and therefore you must go along

   with me. So they were forced to go, because he was stronger than they.

   They also had but little to say, for they knew themselves in a fault.

   The giant, therefore, drove them before him, and put them into his

   castle, into a very dark dungeon, nasty and stinking to the spirits of

   these two men. Here, then, they lay from Wednesday morning till

   Saturday night, without one bit of bread, or drop of drink, or light,

   or any to ask how they did; they were, therefore, here in evil case,

   and were far from friends and acquaintance.  Psa. 88:18. Now in this

   place Christian had double sorrow, because it was through his unadvised

   counsel that they were brought into this distress.


   Now Giant Despair had a wife, and her name was Diffidence: so when he

   was gone to bed he told his wife what he had done, to wit, that he had

   taken a couple of prisoners, and cast them into his dungeon for

   trespassing on his grounds. Then he asked her also what he had best do

   further to them. So she asked him what they were, whence they came, and

   whither they were bound, and he told her. Then she counseled him, that

   when he arose in the morning he should beat them without mercy. So when

   he arose, he getteth him a grievous crab-tree cudgel, and goes down

   into the dungeon to them, and there first falls to rating of them as if

   they were dogs, although they gave him never a word of distaste. Then

   he falls upon them, and beats them fearfully, in such sort that they

   were not able to help themselves, or to turn them upon the floor. This

   done, he withdraws and leaves them there to condole their misery, and

   to mourn under their distress: so all that day they spent the time in


   nothing but sighs and bitter lamentations. The next night, she, talking

   with her husband further about them, and understanding that they were

   yet alive, did advise him to counsel them to make away with themselves.

   So when morning was come, he goes to them in a surly manner, as before,

   and perceiving them to be very sore with the stripes that he had given

   them the day before, he told them, that since they were never like to

   come out of that place, their only way would be forthwith to make an

   end of themselves, either with knife, halter, or poison; for why, said

   he, should you choose to live, seeing it is attended with so much

   bitterness? But they desired him to let them go. With that he looked

   ugly upon them, and rushing to them, had doubtless made an end of them

   himself, but that he fell into one of his fits, (for he sometimes in

   sunshiny weather fell into fits,) and lost for a time the use of his

   hands; wherefore he withdrew, and left them as before to consider what

   to do. Then did the prisoners consult between themselves whether it was

   best to take his counsel or no; and thus they began to discourse:


   Christian: Brother, said Christian, what shall we do? The life that we

   now live is miserable. For my part, I know not whether it is best to

   live thus, or to die out of hand. My soul chooseth strangling rather

   than life, and the grave is more easy for me than this dungeon.  Job.

   7:15. Shall we be ruled by the giant?


   Hopeful: Indeed our present condition is dreadful, and death would be

   far more welcome to me than thus for ever to abide; but yet, let us

   consider, the Lord of the country to which we are going hath said,

   "Thou shalt do no murder," no, not to another man's person; much more,

   then, are we forbidden to take his counsel to kill ourselves. Besides,

   he that kills another, can but commit murder upon his body; but for one

   to kill himself, is to kill body and soul at once. And moreover, my

   brother, thou talkest of ease in the grave; but hast thou forgotten the

   hell whither for certain the murderers go? for "no murderer hath

   eternal life," etc. And let us consider again, that all the law is not

   in the hand of Giant Despair: others, so far as I can understand, have

   been taken by him as well as we, and yet have escaped out of his hands.

   Who knows but that God, who made the world, may cause that Giant

   Despair may die; or that, at some time or other, he may forget to lock

   us in; or that he may, in a short time, have another of his fits before

   us, and may lose the use of his limbs? And if ever that should come to

   pass again, for my part, I am resolved to pluck up the heart of a man,

   and to try my utmost to get from under his hand. I was a fool that I

   did not try to do it before. But, however, my brother, let us be

   patient, and endure a while: the time may come that may give us a happy

   release; but let us not be our own murderers. With these words Hopeful

   at present did moderate the mind of his brother; so they continued

   together in the dark that day, in their sad and doleful condition.


   Well, towards evening the giant goes down into the dungeon again, to

   see if his prisoners had taken his counsel. But when he came there he

   found them alive; and truly, alive was all; for now, what for want of

   bread and water, and by reason of the wounds they received when he beat

   them, they could do little but breathe. But I say, he found them alive;

   at which he fell into a grievous rage, and told them, that seeing they

   had disobeyed his counsel, it should be worse with them than if they

   had never been born.


   At this they trembled greatly, and I think that Christian fell into a

   swoon; but coming a little to himself again, they renewed their

   discourse about the giant's counsel, and whether yet they had best take

   it or no. Now Christian again seemed for doing it; but Hopeful made his

   second reply as followeth:


   Hopeful: My brother, said he, rememberest thou not how valiant thou

   hast been heretofore? Apollyon could not crush thee, nor could all that

   thou didst hear, or see, or feel, in the Valley of the Shadow of Death.

   What hardship, terror, and amazement hast thou already gone through;

   and art thou now nothing but fears! Thou seest that I am in the dungeon

   with thee, a far weaker man by nature than thou art. Also this giant

   hath wounded me as well as thee, and hath also cut off the bread and

   water from my mouth, and with thee I mourn without the light. But let

   us exercise a little more patience. Remember how thou playedst the man

   at Vanity Fair, and wast neither afraid of the chain nor cage, nor yet

   of bloody death: wherefore let us (at least to avoid the shame that it

   becomes not a Christian to be found in) bear up with patience as well

   as we can.


   Now night being come again, and the giant and his wife being in bed,

   she asked him concerning the prisoners, and if they had taken his

   counsel: to which he replied, They are sturdy rogues; they choose

   rather to bear all hardships than to make away with themselves. Then

   said she, Take them into the castle-yard to-morrow, and show them the

   bones and skulls of those that thou hast already dispatched, and make

   them believe, ere a week comes to an end, thou wilt tear them in

   pieces, as thou hast done their fellows before them.


   So when the morning was come, the giant goes to them again, and takes

   them into the castle-yard, and shows them as his wife had bidden him.

   These, said he, were pilgrims, as you are, once, and they trespassed on

   my grounds, as you have done; and when I thought fit I tore them in

   pieces; and so within ten days I will do you: get you down to your den

   again. And with that he beat them all the way thither. They lay,

   therefore, all day on Saturday in a lamentable case, as before. Now,

   when night was come, and when Mrs. Diffidence and her husband the giant

   was got to bed, they began to renew their discourse of their prisoners;

   and withal, the old giant wondered that he could neither by his blows

   nor counsel bring them to an end. And with that his wife replied, I

   fear, said she, that they live in hopes that some will come to relieve

   them; or that they have picklocks about them, by the means of which

   they hope to escape. And sayest thou so, my dear? said the giant; I

   will therefore search them in the morning.


   Well, on Saturday, about midnight they began to pray, and continued in

   prayer till almost break of day.


   Now, a little before it was day, good Christian, as one half amazed,

   brake out into this passionate speech: What a fool, quoth he, am I,

   thus to lie in a stinking dungeon, when I may as well walk at liberty!

   I have a key in my bosom, called Promise, that will, I am persuaded,

   open any lock in Doubting Castle. Then said Hopeful, That is good news;

   good brother, pluck it out of thy bosom, and try.


   Then Christian pulled it out of his bosom, and began to try at the

   dungeon-door, whose bolt, as he turned the key, gave back, and the door

   flew open with ease, and Christian and Hopeful both came out. Then he

   went to the outward door that leads into the castle-yard, and with his

   key opened that door also. After he went to the iron gate, for that

   must be opened too; but that lock went desperately hard, yet the key

   did open it. They then thrust open the gate to make their escape with

   speed; but that gate, as it opened, made such a creaking, that it waked

   Giant Despair, who hastily rising to pursue his prisoners, felt his

   limbs to fail, for his fits took him again, so that he could by no

   means go after them. Then they went on, and came to the King's highway,

   and so were safe, because they were out of his jurisdiction.


   Now, when they were gone over the stile, they began to contrive with

   themselves what they should do at that stile, to prevent those that

   shall come after from falling into the hands of Giant Despair. So they

   consented to erect there a pillar, and to engrave upon the side thereof

   this sentence: "Over this stile is the way to Doubting Castle, which is

   kept by Giant Despair, who despiseth the King of' the Celestial

   country, and seeks to destroy his holy pilgrims." Many, therefore, that

   followed after, read what was written, and escaped the danger. This

   done, they sang as follows:



   "Out of the way we went, and then we found


   What twas to tread upon forbidden ground:


   And let them that come after have a care,


   Lest heedlessness makes them as we to fare;


   Lest they, for trespassing, his prisoners are,


   Whose castle's Doubting, and whose name's Despair."


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