One day a man met the Devil who was nothing like what he imagined the Devil would be.
“What’s with the fire and brimstone thing anyway?” the man asked.
“I don’t do brimstone anymore,” the Devil said. “Because it’s too destructive.”
“More destructive than fire,” the man frowned. “I find that hard to believe.” And so the Devil made a wager with the man. He bet the man that brimstone would burn down more forest than fire. The man laughed. Surely fire would consume an entire forest long before brimstone even caused a spark.
Together they went into the forest where the Devil set his brimstone in a small pile of leaves, and the man tossed his fire into another pile of leaves. As soon as the man turned his back, the Devil whisked up a wind and blew the fire out. Meanwhile the brimstone had indeed caused a spark. The spark became a flame. And the flame quickly burned the forest down.
“Now you must pay me for this wager,” the Devil grinned.
“Take what you must,” the man said sadly.
“You must chose what I will take from you,” the Devil said in that way he has. “Your dog, your wife, your daughter, or yourself.”
Without hesitation, the man replied, “Take me.”
And so the Devil took the man with him to Hell, but something unforeseen happened. As soon as the man touched the fires of Hell, everything around him turned to cold. The coldness quickly spread until all the fire was nothing more than a quickly disappearing black smoke.
“What have you done?” the Devil wailed, for the cold was beginning to hurt him as well.
“It’s what you did,” smiled the man. “By bringing me here, you have ruined your own realm.”
“But how can this be?” the Devil asked in anguished.
“You gave me the choice,” the man said. “My wife left me long ago because I cheated on her with other women. My dog ran away several years ago because I use to beat him. And my daughter just died of cancer six months ago.”
A look of horrible understanding crossed the Devil face.
“So you see, my heart has grown colder than any ice storm,” the man spat. “Taking me here was the worst thing you could do.”
The Devil collapsed onto a rock, his head in his hands. How had not know all this about the man? Who was this man anyway?
“I will give you a second chance though,” the man whispered into the Devil’s ear. “Let’s talk about another wager.” For the man was far from done. He had much bigger plan, and would not stop until he became the Devil himself.