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242 * See Exodus 4:13 (Moses to God). ** A misquotation of Isaiah 22:13.§ A sophisticated pun for Ladino speakers. If the name is derived from the Spanish, it means “rosy cheek” (“chapa” = rosy spot on the cheek; “chula” = pretty [sassy] girl). But if it comes from the Turkish, it means “a bad-mouthed girl without character.” Both descriptions apply to Satan’s wife. 35 Satan’s Son S H A U L A N G E L - M A L A C H I Once Satan was standing before the throne of the Creator, with a request: He would like to be released from his duties for a year so he could get married. The Holy One, Blessed Be He: “Why do you need such a long vacation ? Who will perform the task of carrying off people’s souls when their hour arrives?” Satan: “That is true, Master of the Universe! But I have grown tired of killing them. Make someone elseYour agent.* Appoint some other man or angel or devil in my place. I want to rest from my exhausting labor.” “And what will you do with the woman you marry?” “Oh, Master of the Universe! I beg of you not to ask too many questions . Is it not written in one of the books, ‘Let us eat, for tomorrow we die’?”** “Listen, Satan!” God warned him. “When you decide to return to Heaven you will return alone, because here in Heaven there is no place for the children of the earth.” “I will deal with that when the time comes,” replied Satan. So Satan descended to the earth, in the semblance of a handsome and elegantly dressed young man—he looked like a prince. Straightaway he found a young woman whose face shone like the moon, with dark eyes and a rosy complexion. Satan went to her parents’ house to ask for their daughter’s hand. When the girl, whose name was Chapachula,§ saw such a handsome young man, dressed like a prince, a paragon of gallantry, she fell in love with him at first sight. 35 / Satan’s Son  243  To make a long story short, they were married, set up housekeeping, and lived together as husband and wife, happy and pleased with each other. The woman never suspected whom she had married. After the first year, a son was born who resembled them very much: handsome, smart, clever. The infant grew up and developed rapidly. His mother was filled with pride at the sight of him. Satan knew he had to return to Heaven to fulfill his duty and job: carrying off the souls of human beings. But at the end of his first year of leave, he asked God to extend it, and the Holy One, Blessed Be He, consented . Thus a year passed and another year, until little Satanico reached his eighteenth year. One day Satanico told his father that the time had come for him to learn a trade so he could support himself. Replied his father, Satan: “You don’t have to learn any trade, or anything. Before you learn a trade, however , why don’t you ask me who I am?Your father?” Satanico, whose father doted on him, didn’t know what to ask. So he said, “All right, Father dear. Who are you then?” “My son,” replied Satan, “you should know that I am none other than Satan himself, and that I fell in love with your mother and married her. But from now on—know that I can no longer bear her pettishness and tantrums, which aggravate me day and night. So I have decided to return to Heaven and rid myself of that witch, your mother, whom I can no longer endure.” Satanico, who knew that [about his mother], said, “All right. But what will become of me?” “You have nothing to fear,” answered Satan. “I will teach you a profession that will allow you to earn your bread with dignity and wealth. I am going to make you into a physician.” Satanico: “A physician? How? Without studying and receiving a doctor ’s diploma? Who will believe that I am a physician? Are you making fun of me?” Satan: “Listen, my son. Don’t be so hasty. Since everyone says about me that ‘hastiness is from Satan,’ pay attention and listen so you may become wise.You know that I, and no one else, am the one who carries away people’s souls. Now I will...


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