Being "The Bottle Imp" by
Robert Louis Stevenson
Put into Basic by R. L. Lockhart
Writer of "Word Economy"
Reprinted, June 1945 by
U.S. Naval Training Center,
Miami, Florida, U.S.A from
Psyche Miniatures, General Series
. . . while they were steaming under Maui and Molokai, he was still walking up and down like a prisoned animal.
It was almost dark when they went
past Diamond Head, and came to the
harbour of Honolulu. Keawe went on
land with all the others and made a start
looking for Lopaka. It seemed he had
become the owner of a sailing-ship -- as
good| as any on the islands -- and had gone
on a journey as far as Pola-Pola or Kahiki ,
so there was no help to be looked for from
Then it came into Keawe's mind that a
friend of Lopaka's, a man of law (it
would not do for me to give his name) was
living in the town, and he put some
questions about him. They said he had
become suddenly well-off, and had a
beautiful new house by the sea at Waikiki ;
and this put a thought in Keawe's head,
so taking a carriage he went to the
The house was completely new, and the
tree in the garden no greater than
walking-sticks, and the man of law, when
he came, had the air of a person well
"What may I do for you ?" said he.
"You are a friend of Lopaka's," Keawe
made answer, " and Lopaka got from me I
a certain thing which possibly you may be
able to give me news of."
The man's face became very dark. " I
will make no secret of the fact that I have
some knowledge of what you are talking
about, Mr. Keawe," said he, " though
this is a bad business to be mixed up in. I
am not able myself to be of any help to
you, but I have an idea that if you go to a
certain person, he might possibly be able
to give you news." And he gave him a
name, which, again, it will be best for me
to keep to myself.
So it was for days, and Keawe went from
one to another, coming across new clothing
and carriages and beautiful new houses
everywhere, and men who were very
happy, though, it is true, when he said
anything about his business their faces
would become clouded.
" No doubt I am getting nearer," was
Keawe's thought. "This new clothing
and these new carriages all came from the
little imp, and these happy faces the
faces of men who have taken their profit
and got the thing handed safely on.
When I see white faces and sad voices, I
will be certain that I am near the bottle."
So it came at last that he was sent to a
white man in Beritania Street. When he
got to the door, about the hour of the
night meal, there were the same signs of
the new house, and the young garden, and
when the electric light in the windows, but
when the owner came a shock of hope and
fear went through Keawe ; because here
was a young man, white as the dead, and
black about the eyes, the hair falling off
his head, and such a look on his face as a
man may have when he is waiting in the
" Here it is, without a doubt," was
Keawe's thought, and so with this man
he did nothing to keep secret what he was
looking for. " I am come for the bottle,"
At the word, the young white man of
Beritania Street took a step back, almost
falling against the wall.
" The bottle !" he said in a forced voice,
" To get the bottle ! " Then he seemed to
have trouble in breathing, and, gripping
Keawe by the arm, took him into a room
and put wine into two glasses.
"My respects to you ! said Keawe,
who had been much about with white
persons in his time.
" Yes," he went on, " I am come to get
the bottle. What is the price by now ?"`
At that word the young man let his
glass go through his fingers, and gave
Keawe the look of a man newly back from
" The price," said he, "the price! You
have not had news of the price ?"
" That is the reason for my question,"
was Keawe's answer. " But why are you
so much troubled ? Is there anything
wrong about the price ?"
" It has gone down in value very much
from your time, Mr. Keawe," said the
young man, almost unable to get the
" Well, well, I will have less to give for
it," said Keawe. "How much did you get it for? "
The young man was as white as paper.
" Two cents," said he.
"What? " said Keawe in a voice of fear,
" two cents ? Why, then, the only possible
price for it now is one cent. And he
who takes it at that price --" The words
would not come from Keawe's lips ; he
who took it now had no hope of ever
handing it on, the bottle and the bottle-imp
would be with him till his death, and at his
death would take him to the red end of
The young man of Beritania Street
went down on his knees. " Please, please,
take it! " was his cry. " You may have all
my money in addition. I was off my head
when I took it at that price. I had taken
from my store which I had no
right to ; it was my only chance ; I
would have gone to prison."
"Poor boy," said Keawe, " you were
ready to put yourself in this danger, and
did so in the hope of getting out of the
punishment for your crime. Is it possible
that I would be less ready with love before
me ? Give me the bottle, and the change
which I am certain you have ready. Here
is a five cent bit."
It was as Keawe had said, the young
man had the change ready in a drawer ;
the bottle was handed over, and the
minute Keawe's fingers were round its
neck, he made his request to be a clean
man. And truly enough, when he got back
to his room, and took off his clothing
before a glass, his skin was unmarked like
a baby's. And here was the strange thing ;
straight away, when he saw what had
taken place, his mind was changed, and
he gave no thought to the leprosy, and
little enough to Kokua, and had but one
idea, that here he was chained to the
bottle-imp for all time, and had no better hope
than to be burned for ever in the flames
Away in front of him he saw them with
his mind's eye, and fear overcame him,
and it became dark.
When Keawe got a little more normal,
it came to his mind that it was the night
when the band was playing at the hotel.
He went there, because of his fear of being
by himself ; and there among happy
faces went walking forward and back,
hearing the lift and fall of the music. But all
the time the crack of the flames came to his
ears and he saw the red fire burning in
that hole deep without end. Suddenly the
band was playing Hiki-ao-ao ; that was a
song which had been pleasing to Kokua.
and at the sound he became stronger.
" It is done now," was his thought,
" and once more let me take the good with
So it came about that he went back to
Hawaii by the first steamer, and as quickly
as possible he was married to Kokua, and
took her up the mountain-side to the
Now it was so with these two that when
they were together, Keawe's heart was
quiet ; but the minute he was by himself
he became full of fear for the future,
hearing the crack of the flames and seeing
the red fire burning in the deep hole
without end. The girl had truly made
herself completely his ; her heart gave a
jump of pleasure when she saw him, her
hand was happy resting in his. And she
was so made from the hair on her head to
the nails on her toes that no one was able
to see her without feeling happy. She was
good-humoured. She was not ever without
a kind word. Full of song, with a voice
like a bird, she went about in the
Bright House, the brightest thing on its
three floors. And hearing and seeing her,
Keawe's heart was full, but then turning
to one side he would give way to crying
and bitter thoughts at the price he had
given for her, and then, drying his eyes
and washing his face, would go out to her
side on the wide terrace, joining in her
songs, and, with a sad heart, answering
There came a day when her feet went
more slowly and her songs became less
frequent ; and now it was not only Keawe who gave way to crying when he was by
himself. The two of them would go away from one another to opposite sides
of the house, with all the Bright House between them Keawe was so taken up
with his unhappy thoughts that he was almost unconscious of the changed, and was
only pleased that he had more room to be by himself, giving thought to his future,
and was not so frequently forced to put on a smile over his sad heart. But one day,
coming softly through he house, the sound of a young thing crying came to his
ears, and there was Kokua rolling her face on the floor, and crying like someone
whose last hope is gone.
" You do well to be crying in this house, Kokua," he said.
" But I would give the head off my body if you at least might have been happy."
" Happy !" she made answer. "Keawe, when you were by yourself
in your Bright House, you were the word of the island
for a happy man ; laugh and song was on your lips, and your face was as bright as
the morning sun. Then you became married to poor Kokua ; and I have no
idea why she is not pleasing to you -- but from that day you have not had a smile.
-48- Oh !" she went on in a voice of pain, " What is wrong with me " I had an idea
I was beautiful, and I was certain of my love for him. What is wrong with me that
I put this cloud over my Keawe ?"
" Poor Kokua," said Keawe. Seating himself by her side,
he was about to take her hand ;but she would not let him.
" Poor Kokua," he said again. " My poor little girl -- my sweet one. And it was my
desire all this time to keep my trouble from you ! Wee, now I will keep nothing
back. Then, at least, your heart will be moved from poor Keawe ; then you will see
how great was his love for you in the past -- that he was ready to give himself
up to Satan to make you his -- and how great is his love for you still (the poor
unhappy one), that he is still able to put a smile when he sees you."
With these words, he gave her an account of everything, even from
the very start.
" You have done this for me ?" she said. " Ah, well then what is there to be
unhappy aobut !" -- and crying, she took him in her arms.
" Ah, little one !" said Keawe, "but when I give thought the flames, I have
much to be unhappy about !"
" That is all wrong," she said ; " no man has such a punishment waiting for
him because he had been in love with Kokua, and has done not other wrong. Be
certain, Keawe, I will get you out of Satan's power with these hands, or be
overtaken with the same punishment as yourself. What ! you gave me your love,
and put yourself in the greatest of all dangers for me, and it is your belief that after
all this I will not go to my death for you ?"
"Ah, my dear ! You might go to your death a hundred times, and what good
would it do ?" was his answer. " I would only have to go on living without
your company till the day when Satan comes for me."
" You have so little knowledge," said she " I got my education in a school in
Honolulu ; I am not common girl. And I say to you, that I will get my lover out of
danger. What is this you say about a cent ? But every country is not American.
In England they have a bit of money named a farthing, which is about half a
cent. Ah ! unhappy thought !" she went on, " That make it very little better, -50-
because the man who takes it from you will be faced with the same punishment,
and we will come upon no one with so little fear as my Keawe ! But then there
is France ; they have a small bit of money there which is named a centime, and these
go at about five to the cent. That is our best hope. Come, Keawe, let us go to the
French islands ; let us go to Tahiti, as quickly as ships will take us. There we
have four centimes, three centimes, two centimes, one centime ; four possible
exchanges to come and go on ; and two of us to see that the exchange is made.
Come, my Keawe !" Give me a kiss, and put an end to care. Kokua will get you out
of your trouble."
"Dearest one !" said he in a happy voice.
"It is not possible that the Maker will send me punishment for desiring anything so good ! Let it be as you say, then ; take me wherever seems best. I put myself and my future in your hands."
Early the day after, Kokua made a start to get ready. She took Keawe's chest which he had when he was a sailor ; and first she put the bottle at one end of it ; and then she put in the best of their clothing and the most beautiful of the ornaments
in the house. -51- " Because," said she, " it is necessary for us to seem well-off, or who will have any belief in the story of the bottle ?"
All the time she was getting ready she was as bright as a bird ; only when she took a look at Keawe her eyes became and she had to go running up to him and give him a kiss. As for Keawe, a weight was off
his mind. Now that another was in his secret, and he had some hope before him, he seemed like a new man ; his feet went over the earth as if they had wings, and his breath was good to him. But fear was still at his back ; and again and again, as the wind puts out a wax-light, hope came and went in him, and he saw the fames jumping and the red fire burning in the Inferno.
It was give out in the country that they had gone on a pleasure-journey to the States, which was looked upon as a strange thing, but not so strange as the true facts, if anyone had had knowledge of them. So they went to Honolulu in the Hall, and from there in the Umatilla to San Francisco with a number of white persons, and at San Francisco they went by the sailing ship which took the letters, the Tropic Bird, to Papeete, the chief place of the French in the south islands. -52- There they came after a good journey, on a bright day with the Trade Wind blowing, and saw the low shelf of stone off the sands, with the saves rolling white against it, and Moruiti with its wide-leafed trees, and the sailing ship moving on the waves near the land, and the white houses of the town low down by the sea among green trees, and overhead the mountains and the clouds of Tahiti, the wise island.
It was judged best to take a house (which they did, opposite the British Consul's), to get their money talked about, and to let themselves be seen going out with the carriages and horses. This was simple to do as long as they were the owners of the bottle, because Kokua has less fear than Keawe, and whenever she had need for it, made the imp give her twenty or a hundred dollars. At this rate they were quickly taken note of in the town ; and the persons from Hawaii, their horses and their carriages, the beautiful holukus and the ornaments of Kokua, became much talked about.
They got on well after the first weeks with the Tahitian language, which is in fact like the Hawaiian with a change of certain letters ; and when they had the power of talking freely, they got to work on the business of the bottle.
You will see that this was hard to do ; it was hard to make anyone see that you were serious, when you were offering them for four centimes a bottle which would give them all their desires. It was necessary, in addition, to make clear what were the dangers of the bottle ; and some had no belief in the story and gave a laugh, while others gave more attention to the darker part, and became very troubled in their minds, and went away from Keawe and Kokua as from persons who were working with Satan. So far from getting nearer what they were after, these two made the discovery that they were being kept away from it. The boys and girls went running from them, crying in fear, a thing which made Kokua very unhappy ; Catholics made the sign of the Christ when they went by ; and everyone, acting on one impulse, had less and less to do with them.
Their hearts became very sad. They would go back to their new house at night, after a day of trouble, and not say one word, or the quiet would be broken by Kokua suddenly crying violently. -54- Sometimes they went down on their knees together ; sometimes they would have the bottle out upon the floor, and be seated till they went to bed watching the dark shade moving inside. At such times they had a fear of going to rest. It was long before sleep came to them, and if one of them went off to sleep, it would be to come awake to see the other crying quietly in the dark, or possibly to discovery that the other had gone out of the house and away from that bottle, to take a walk up and down among the banana trees in the little garden, or to go down to the sand by moonlight.
One night it was so when Kokua come awake. Keawe was gone. She put her hand over the bed and his place was cold. Then fear came upon her, and she got up in bed. A little moonlight came in rays through the shutters. The room was bright, and she was able to see the bottle on the floor. Outside there was a strong wind blowing, the great trees by the roadside were crying out loud, and the leaves which had come off made a noise on the terrace at the front of the house. In the middle of this Kokua became conscious of another sound ; -55- she was not certain if it came from an animal or a man, but it was as sad as death, and she was cut to her heart. Softly she go up, and pushing the door half open, had a look out into the square, which was silver in the light of the moon. There, stretched out under the bananas, was Keawe, his mouth in the dust, and a low, unhappy sound coming from his lips.
It was Kokua's first thought to go forward and give him comfort ; her second strongly kept her back. Keawe had got control of his fear in front of her ; it would be cruel of her to see his shame in the hour when fear had overcome him. With that thought she went back into the house.
"How little care I have taken of him ?" was her though, " How feeble I have been ! It is he, not I, who is in danger of this unending punishment ; it was he, not I, who put himself in the power of Satin. It is for me, for the love of a person of so little value and such poor help, that he now sees the flames so near to him -- yes, and is smelling the smoke, stretched out there in the wind and moonlight. Am I so slow that I have not seen till now what is right for me to do, -56- or have I seen it before and done nothing. But now, at least, I take up my self in the two hands of love ; now I go for ever from the white steps of the Happy Land and the waiting faces of friends. A love for a love, and let mine be the equal of Keawe's ! A self for a self, and let it be mine which goes to death !"
She was a woman quick with her hands, and she was dressed in a minute. She took up the change -- those much-valued centimes they kept ever at their side ; because these bits of money are little used, and they had got them from a Government office.
When she was out in the roadway, clouds came on the wind, and the face of the moon became black. The town was sleeping, and she had no idea where to go till the sound of someone coughing in the shade of the trees came to her ears.
" Old man," said Kokua, "What are you doing out here in the cold night ?"
The old man was coughing so hard that he was almost unable to make any answer, but she made out that he was old and poor, and was strange to the island.
" Will you do something for me ?" said Kokua. " As a person who is in a strange land to another, and as an old man to a young woman, will you give help to a daughter of Hawaii ?"
" Ah ," said the old man. " So you are the woman of secret powers from the eight islands, and you are doing your best to get an old man into our grip. But I am conscious who you are, and you may do our worst, but it will have no effect on me."
" Take a seat here," said Kokua, " and give ear to my story." And she gave him the story of Keawe from the start to the end.
" And now," said she, " I am married to him, who put all his future in danger to make me his. And what am I to do ? If I went to him myself and made an offer for it he would not let me have it. But if you go, he will readily make the exchange. I will be waiting for you here ; you will give four centimes for it, and I will take it again from you for three. And may the Father make a poor girl strong enough to do it !"
" If you were false in the undertaking," said the old man, " I am certain He would not let you go on living."
" He would not " Kokua made answer. Be certain He would not. I would not be able to do such a thing -- He would not let me."
" Give me the four centimes and do not go from here till I come back." said the old man.
Now, when Kokua was by herself in the street, death come into her heart. The wind made a noise in the trees and it seemed to her to be the crackling of the flames ; the shades of the branches were moving in the rays of the street light, and they seemed to her the outstretched arms of Satan's band. If she had been strong enough she would certainly have gone running from the place, and if she had had the breath she would certainly have given a cry out loud ; but she was rooted to the road, and shaking like a small girl overcome with fear.
Then she saw the old man coming back, and he had to bottle in his hand.
I have done your request ." said he. " Your man is crying like a baby ; tonight his sleep will give him peace." And he put our his hand with the bottle.
Before you give it to me," said Kokua breathing hard, " take the good with the bad -- make a request to have your cough made better."
" I am an old man," was his answer, " and so near death that I will not take anything from Satan. But what is this ? Why do you not take the bottle : Are you going back on your agreement ?"
" Not going back !" said Kokua " I am only feeble. Give me a minute. It is my hand which will not. Physical disgust overcomes me when I see the unnatural thing. One minute only !"
The old man gave Kokua a kind look. "Poor girl !" said he. " You have fear ; your heart is troubled. Well, let me keep it. I am old, and will not ever again be happy on this earth, and as for the future ----- "
" Give it to me !" said Kokua, almost unable to get the words out. " There is your money. Does it seem to you possible that I would be as cruel as that ? Give me the bottle."
" May the Father be good to you," said the old man.
Kokua put the bottle under her holoku, said a parting word to the old man, and went down the road between the trees, caring little where she was going ; because all roads were now the same to her, and went equally to Inferno.
Sometimes she went to walk, sometimes at a run ; sometimes she gave a loud cry into the night, and sometimes, falling down by the wayside, in the dust, she gave herself up to her trouble. Everything which had ever been said to her about Inferno came back to her ; she saw the flames burning brightly, and the smell of the smoke came to her, and her body seemed to be burned by the coals.
Near day she became her normal self again, and went back to the house. It was as the old man said -- Keawe was sleeping like a baby. Going near him, Kokua took a long look at him.
" Now, my Keawe," said she, " it is your turn to sleep. When you are awake it will be your turn for songs and laughing. But for poor Kokua, who had no desire to do wrong -- for poor Kokua, no more sleep, no more songs, no more happy days, ever again."
With that she put herself down on the bed by his side, and so great was the weight of her trouble that she straight away went into a deep sleep.
Late in the morning, Keawe got her awake and gave her the good news. It seemed he was off his head with the pleasure of it, because he gve no attention to her unhappy condition, though she was able to do little to keep it secret. The words would not come from her mouth ; it was all the same -- Keawe did the talking. She took not a bit of food, but who was to see it ? Because Keawe made the plate clean. Kokua saw him, and his words came to her, like some strange thing in one's sleep ; there were times when her control went from her or she had doubts, and put her hands to her head ; to have knowledge of the end which was waiting for her, and still to be hearing Keawe talking on and on about nothing, seemed so impossible, so unnatural.
All the time Keawe was taking his food and talking, and making decisions about when they would go back, and saying it was she who had done all this, and kissing her, and saying she was a true helper after all. He gave a laugh at the old man who was foolish enough to take the bottle.
" A good old man he seemed," Keawe said, " But it is not use judging men by what they seem. Because what had the old good-for-nothing done to be in need of the bottle?"
" His purpose may have been good," said Kokua quietly, and as if half fearing to put foreword her opinion.
Kawe gave an angry laugh.
" What foolish talk !" said he loudly. " A bad old man, you may be certain ; and a foolish one in addition. Because it was hard enough to get anyone to take the bottle at four centimes ; and at three it will be quite impossible. It's getting so near the edge, one gets the smell of the burning -- burrr !" said he, shaking a little. " It is true I took it myself for a cent, when had no knowledge that there was smaller money. It was a foolish move ; no one will ever do that again : and whoever has that bottle now will take it to the flames.
" O Keawe !" said Kokua. " Is it not a cruel thing to get oneself out of trouble at the price of unending punishment for another " It seems to me I would have no desire to be laughing in your position. I would have the feeling that I was very small. I would be very sad. I would be hoping all the time that there was some way out for the poor man who was less happy than myself."
Then Keawe, because he saw that what she said was true, became more angry. " Very well !" said he. " You may be sad if that is our desire. It is no great sign of married love. If you gave any thought to me you would be ashamed."
Saying this, he went out, and Kokua was by herself.
What chance had she to get anyone to take that bottle at two centimes ? No chance at all she saw.
And if she had any, here was Keawe quickly taking her back to a country where there was no hope of exchanging the bottle. And here was he -- the day afer she had taken on this great punishment for him -- going off without her and saying that hers was a poor sort of love.
She did not even make an attempt at profiting by what time she had, but kept in the house, and now had the bottle out and took a look at it, full of a fear so great that she had no word for it, and now, hating it, put it away, out of view.
After a time, Keawe came back to take her out driving. "My dear one, I am ill, " I am in no humour for it. I have no desie for pleasure."
Then was Keawe more angry than ever ; with her, because it seemed to him she was still giving thought to the old man ; and with himself, because it seemed to him she was right, and he was shamed to be so happy.
" This is what you truly are," said he in a loud voice, " and this is our love. Here am I, who only yesterday was let off an unending punishment I undertook for the love of you -- and you take no part in my pleasure ! Kokua, you have a false heart."
He went out again, violently angry, and was about in the town all day. He came across friends and had drinks with them ; they took a carriage and went out into the country, and there had more drinks. All the time Keawe was troubled, because he was conscious in his heart that she was more right than he ; and the knowledge made him take more drink.
Now there was a rough old white man drinking with him, one who had been a sailor on a fishing-ship, a runaway, a worker in the gold mines, a man who had been in prison more than once. He had a -65- low mind and a dirty tongue. He took a pleasure in drinking and in seeing others the worse for drink ; and he made Keawe have glass after glass. In a short time no one had any more money.
" Here, you !" said the sailor. " You are well-off, so you have been saying for a long time. You have a bottle or something foolish."
" Yes," said Keawe, " I am well-off ; I will go back and get some money from my old woman, who keeps it"
"That's a foolish thing to do," said the sailor. " Don't you ever let a woman keep your dollars for you. They're all as false as water ; you keep an eye on her."
Now these words had an effect on Keawe's mind ; because he was getting very mixed through drinking.
" I wouldn't be surprised if her heart is false," said he to himself. " If not, why is she so sad to see me free ? But I will let her see that I am not the man to be made foolish. I will go now and see what she is doing."
So, when they wre back in the town, Keawe, after saying to the sailor that he would come back to him at the end of the road, by the old prison, went forward -66- between the trees to the door of his house. The night had come again ; there was a light inside, but not a sound ; and Keawe went round the house on his toes, and got the back door open softly, and had a look in.
There was Kokua on the floor, the light at her side. Before her was a milk-white bottle, round at the base and with a long neck ; and while she was looking at it, Kokua was gripping her hands together as if in pain.
For a long time Keawe made no move, but kept on looking through the doorway. At first, the shock of what he saw took all power of though away. And then fear come upon him, that the exchange had not been rightly made, and the bottle had come back to him as it came at San Francisco ; and at that his knees became loose, and the effects of the wine went from his head like mists off a river in the morning. And then he had another thought -- a strange one which sent the blood to his head.
" I will make certain of this," was his thought.
So he got the door shut, and went softly round the house again, and then came in making a noise as if he had only now come back. And, strangely enough, by the time he had got the front door open no bottle was to be seen; and Kokua was resting in a seat, and got up like one who has newly come out of sleep.
" I have been drinking all day and having a good time." said Keawe. "I have been with friends, and now I only come for money, and go back to have more drink and more amusement with them."
His face and his voice were very hard, but Kokua was so troubled that she took no note of it.
" You do well to make use of what is yours, Keawe," said she, and her words came uncertainly from her lips.
" O, I do well in all things," said Keawe, and he went straight to the chest and took out money. But he had a look, in addition, in the place where they kept the bottle, and there was no bottle there.
At that, the chest seemed to be moving about upon the floor like a wave on the sea, and the house was moving round and round like a twist of smoke, because he saw there was no hope now, and there was no way out. " It is as I was fearing," was his thought, " It is she who has taken it."
And then he came to himself a little and got up ; but the drops were running off his face as thick as the rain and as cold as the spring-water. " Kokua," said he, " I said to you today what I had no right to say. Now I go back to have a good time with my happy friends," and at that he gave a quiet, little laugh. " I will take more pleasure in the cup if I am certain that you have no hard thoughts about me."
In a minute her arms were round his knees, and she was crying.
" O," she said, " I was looking for nothing but a kind word !"
" Let us not ever have hard thoughts about one another," said Keawe, and was gone out of the house.
Now, the money Keawe had taken was only some of that store of centimes they had put on one side when they came to the island. I was very certain he had no desire to be drinking. Kokua had given her inmost self for him, and now he had to give his for her ; he had no other thought at all.
At the end of the road, by the old prison, there was the sailor waiting.
" Kokua has the bottle," said Keawe, " and if you do not give me your help in getting it from her, there will be no more money and no more drink tonight.
" You are not serious about that bottle, are you ?" said the sailor in surprise.
" There is the street light," said Keawe. " Do I seem as if I was giving way to humour ?"
" That is so," said the sailor. Your face is as serious as that of a man come back from the dead.
" Well, then," said Keawe, " here are two centimes ; go to Kokua in the house, and make her an offer of these for the botle, which (if I am not very much in error) she will give you straight away. Come back with it to me here, and I will take it from you for one ; because there is a law with this bottle, that it has to be exchanged every time at a lower price. But whatever you do, do not say a word to her about having come from me.
" Friend, are you playing a trick on me ?" said the sailor.
" It'll not be any the worse for you if I am," Keawe made answer.
" That is so," said the sailor. "
" And if you have doubts about what I say," went on Keawe, " you may put it to the test. When you are out of the house, make a request to have your pocket full of money, or a bottle of the best whisky, or anything you have a desire for, and you will see the powers of the thing."
" Very well, Kanaka," said the sailor, " I will do that ; but if you are making me foolish, I will make you foolish with a great stick."
So the sailor went off up the road ; and Keawe kept where he was, waiting for him. It was near the same place where Kokua had been waiting the night before ; but Keawe was more certain of himself, and kept to his purpose ; only his inmost self was bitter with loss of hope.
It seemed as if he had been waiting a long time before a voice came to his ears out of the dark between the trees. It was the voice of the sailor ; but it was strange how much the worse for drink it suddenly seemed.
Then, the man himself came, walking uncertainly into the light. He had Satan's bottle buttoned in his coat ; another bottle in his hand ; and even while he was coming into view he put it to his mouth and took a drink.
" You have it," said Keawe, " I see that."
" Hands off !" said the sailor, jumping back. " Take a step near me, and Ill give you a blow in the face. You were going to make use of me, were you ?"
" What's your idea ?" Keawe said in surprise.
" My idea ?" came the sailor's answer. " This is quite a good bottle, this is ; that's what my idea is. How I got it for two centimes is a secret to me ; but I'm certain you're not going to have it for one."
" Then you're going to keep it ?" said Keawe, breathing hard.
" Yes, sir !" was the sailor's cry. " But I'll give you a drink of the whisky if you'll have it."
" Let me make it quite clear to you," said Keawe, " that the man who has that bottle is in the power of Satan."
" It's certain that he'll get me anyhow," was the sailor's answer, " and this bottle's the best thing I have come across to go to him with. No, sir !" he went on again. " This is my bottle now, and you may go fishing for another."
" Is it possible that this is true ?" said Keawe. " In your interests, it would be wiser to let me have it !"
" All your talk's nothing to me," said the sailor. " You had an idea I hadn't any sense ; now you see I have ; and that's an end. If you'll not have a drink of the whisky, I'll have one myself. Here's to you, and good night !"
So off he went down the road in the direction of the town, and there goes the bottle out of the story.
But Keawe went running to Kokua, quick as the wind ; and happy were their hearts that night ; and great, from that time, has been the peace of all their days in the Bright House.
Did you notice how Satan is confounded in this story ? Having taken considerable trouble in sending this bottle into the world, he has finally gotten for it only the rough sailor's soul, which was his anyway.