LILITH A Fantasy Novel By George MacDonald - online book

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14                                    LILITH
once so childish and so self-satisfied—in fact, it is not sufficiently developed for an old raven—at your service !'
' Am I wrong, then, in presuming that a man is superior to a bird ?'
' That is as it may be. "We do not waste our intel­lects in generalising, but take man or bird as we find him.—I think it is now my turn to ask you a question !'
' You have the best of rights,' I replied, ' in the fact that you can do so !'
' Well answered ! ' he rejoined. ' Tell me, then, who you are—if you happen to know.'
' How should I help knowing ? I am myself, and must know !'
' If you know you are yourself, you know that you are not somebody else; but do you know that you are yourself ? Are you sure you are not your own father ? —or, excuse me, your own fool ?—Who are you, pray ?'
I became at once aware that I could give him no notion of who I was. Indeed, who was I ? It would be no answer to say I was who ! Then I understood that I did not know myself, did not know what I was, had no grounds on which to determine that I was one and not another. As for the name I went by in my own world, I had forgotten it, and did not care to recall it, for it meant nothing, and what it might be was plainly of no consequence here. I had indeed almost forgotten that there it was a custom for everybody to have a name ! So I held my peace, and it was my wisdom ; for what should I say to a creature such as this raven, who saw through accident into entity ?
' Look at me,' he said, ' and tell me who I am.'
As he spoke, he turned his back, and instantly I knew him. He was no longer a raven, but a man
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