What happens when the devils that is alcoholism takes on the form of a dog?
Wenzel returns from Bohemia with a new resolve to stop wasting his life in drinking. But will he be able to keep the devil at bay?
Diligence now erupted passionately like a mania from Wenzel’s head, from his body. It exhausted him in summer’s fervour. It froze him in the frost of the forest as he gathered wood. It drove him down the road selling berries, threw him from limb to limb. But his strength seemed inexhaustible in stamina, his head full of tricks and wiles.
The woman watched him with admiration and pride as he soldiered on. She had truly made a good deal with him.
The wheat waved in the field. The money piled up in the drawer of the chest.
He never spoke of marrying, never of reward. He never slurred “Good evening!”, even if he came home quite late.
Once she secretly placed a bottle of schnaps next to his bed. On the next morning the bottle together with its contents had disappeared. Then she became afraid and she looked at him scornfully with blazing eyes. But he chirruped, “Haha, come!” taking a shovel and going with her into the garden. Under a tree the lawn was wilted. There he struck the shovel into the ground and lifted out the bottle.
“Missing a drop of it?”
“No, never! But why did you bury it?”
“Just like my alcoholism.”
He shook the bottle. The schnaps splashed against the glass as if it were laughing and sparkled.
Then Wenzel closed his eyes and hurled it against a trunk so that it smashed noisily.
It seemed to him as though something had called him, and he walked over and smashed the pieces to dust so that whatever spirit in it that had called him was dead.
After that the fervour grew in the woman, and with longing arms she was grasping after his body.