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2.3.11 The battle with the monster with seven heads

From John Bunyan's classic The Pilgrim's Progress, Part II, Section 3, Step 11.

While they lay here, there came a monster out of the woods, and slew many of the people of the town. It would also carry away their children, and teach them to suck its whelps. Now, no man in the town durst so much as face this monster; but all fled when they heard the noise of his coming.

The monster was like unto no one beast on the earth. Its body was like a dragon, and it had seven heads and ten horns. It made great havoc of children, and yet it was governed by a woman (Rev. 17:3). This monster propounded conditions to men; and such men as loved their lives more than their souls, accepted of those conditions. So they came under.

Now Mr Great-Heart, together with those who came to visit the pilgrims at Mr Mnason's house, entered into a covenant to go and engage this beast, if perhaps they might deliver the people of this town from the paws and mouth of this so devouring a serpent.

Then did Mr Great-Heart, Mr Contrite, Mr Holy-man, Mr Dare-not-lie, and Mr Penitent, with their weapons, go forth to meet him. Now the monster at first was very rampant, and looked upon these enemies with great disdain; but they so belaboured him, being sturdy men at arms, that they made him make a retreat: so they came home to Mr Mnason's house again.

The monster, you must know, had his certain seasons to come out in, and to make his attempts upon the children of the people of the town. At these seasons did these valiant worthies watch him, and did still continually assault him; insomuch that in process of time he became not only wounded, but lame. Also he has not made that havoc of the townsmen's children as formerly he had done; and it is verily believed by some that this beast will die of his wounds.

This, therefore, made Mr Great-Heart and his fellows of great fame in this town; so that many of the people that wanted their taste of things, yet had a reverent esteem and respect for them. Upon this account, therefore, it was, that these pilgrims got not much hurt here. True, there were some of the baser sort, that could see no more than a mole, nor understand any more than a beast; these had no reverence for these men, and took no notice of their valor and adventures.


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