So the Criminal with a Crown came to the end of his resources. He had told his last lie, but not even his servants would believe it. He had made his last threat, but no living soul feared it. He had put forth his last stroke of violence and cruelty, but it fell short.
When he saw his own image reflected in the eyes of men, and knew what he had done to the world and what had come of his evil design, he was afraid, and cried, “Let the Earth swallow me!” And the Earth opened, and swallowed him.
But so great was the harm that he had wrought upon the Earth, and so deeply had he drenched it with blood, that it could not contain him. So the Earth opened again, and spewed him forth.
Then he cried, “Let the Sea hide me!” And the waves rolled over his head.
But the Sea, whereon he had wrought iniquity, and filled the depths thereof with the bones of the innocent, could not endure him and threw him up on the shore as refuse.
Then he cried, “Let the Air carry me away!” And the strong winds blew, and lifted him up so that he felt exalted.
At first the weather was fine and still. The thrushes were calling, and in the swamps clos ...
But the pure Air, wherein he had let loose the vultures of hate, dropping death upon helpless women and harmless babes, found the burden and the stench of him intolerable, and let him fall.
And as he was falling he cried, “Let the Fire give me a refuge!” So the Fire, wherewith he had consumed the homes of men, rejoiced; and the flames which he had compelled to do his will in wickedness leaped up as he drew near.
“Welcome, old master!” roared the Fire. “Be my slave!”
Then he perceived that there was no hope for him in the justice of the elements. And he said, “I will seek mercy of Him against whom I have most offended.”
So he fled to the foot of the Great White Throne. And as he kneeled there, broken and abased, the world was silent, waiting for the sentence of the Judge of All.
Justice of the Elements – Henry van Dyke
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