20th June

Saint Serf and the Devil (after Andrew of Wyntoun's Orygynale Cronykil of Scotland)

Saint Serf had just finished a long devotional session in a cave on the Fife coast when the Devil arrived, intent on an argument.

‘You’re a smart arse, aren’t you, Saint Serf ?’

‘What’s that to you, foul fiend?’

‘Well, something’s been bothering me. Where was God before Heaven and Earth were made? Must have been somewhere. But where?’

‘God existed in himself. He doesn’t need to be any where. He just is.’

‘All right. So why did He make the animals and everything? What was that about?’

‘Because He’s the maker of all things. If He hadn’t made anything, there wouldn’t be any creatures and He wouldn’t be the creator. But He did, and there are, so He is.’

‘But how come He didn’t make anything totally perfect? Because He could have, couldn’t He?’

‘He didn’t set out to make things imperfect, but He Himself is perfection. So nothing could match him. Only God can be perfect.’

‘Okay. Where did God make the first man, Adam?’

‘In Hebron.’

‘Hebron, eh? And where did God put Adam when He kicked him out of Paradise?’

‘Where he was made.’

‘Hebron again? Interesting. And how long was it, after Adam sinned, before he was barred?’

‘Seven hours.’

‘Very precise. You really know your stuff, don’t you? What about Eve, where was she made?’

‘In Paradise.’

‘So Adam was made in Hebron and Eve was made in Paradise, and after they left Paradise they were still in Hebron? So are they the same place? That’s like saying Fife is Dundee.’

‘The location is immaterial.’

‘Not if it’s Dundee.’

‘The point is, they sinned. That’s what changed everything.’

‘But this isn’t fair. We devils were made in Paradise, and we were kicked out
too, so how come humans get salvation through Christ’s sacrifice, but we don’t?’

‘You brought it on yourselves. You were deliberately wicked. Humans didn’t mean to fall. You tricked us into it. It wasn’t our fault.’

‘It wisnae us, you mean?’

‘Well, it wisnae. It was you.’

‘You’ve got an answer for everything,’ the Devil said, ‘but I’m not sure you’re that smart. Suit yourself though. Stay in your miserable cave. Say your prayers. I’m going out.’

Reader: Charlie West
Fiddle: Aidan O'Rourke
Subscribe here for more stories & music