The End

"The first choice was the most difficult," explained Mr. Gilby, after his audience's unhappy silence had played itself out. "How does one choose between two tales, one of which is interesting but morally ambiguous - perhaps even morally destructive - and two that contain moral lessons, but have no narrative appeal? This is not to say that 'The Feast of Spirits' is as fine a tale as any you might encounter, but I daresay it is an improvement over the other options. This, then, is the importance of the Serpent, and of Temptation; for only from transgression, as from Alander's disobedience, can a worthwhile tale arise."

Sir Thomas interjected, "But you're saying that evil is justified by entertainment! That's preposterous!"

"Narrative is far more than entertainment. It's how we understand the world. As for evil... sometimes it needs no justification."


A Gilded Serpent