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After I was created, God divided Paradise and all the animals therein between Adam and me. The east and the north were assigned to Adam, together with the male animals. I was mistress of the west and the south and all the female animals. Satan, smarting under the disgrace of having been dismissed from the heavenly host," resolved to bring about our ruin and avenge himself upon the cause of his discomfiture. He won the serpent over to his side, and pointed out to him that before the creation of Adam the animals could enjoy all that grew in Paradise, and now they were restricted to the weeds. To drive Adam from Paradise would therefore be for the good of all. The serpent demurred, for he stood in awe of the wrath of God. But Satan calmed his fears, and said, "Do thou but become my vessel,[117] and I shall speak a word through thy mouth wherewith thou wilt succeed in seducing man."

The serpent thereupon suspended himself from the wall surrounding Paradise, to carry on his conversation with me from without. And this happened at the very moment when my two guardian angels had betaken themselves to heaven to supplicate the Lord. I was quite alone therefore, and when Satan assumed the appearance of an angel, bent over the wall of Paradise, and intoned seraphic songs of praise, I was deceived, and thought him an angel. A conversation was held between us, Satan speaking through the mouth of the serpent:

"Art thou Eve?"

"Yes, it is I."

"What art thou doing in Paradise?"

"The Lord has put us here to cultivate it and eat of its fruits."

"That is good. Yet you eat not of all the trees."

That we do, excepting a single one, the tree that stands in the midst of Paradise. Concerning it alone, God has forbidden us to eat of it, else, the Lord said, ye will die."

The serpent made every effort to persuade me that I had naught to fear--that God knew that in the day that Adam and I ate of the fruit of the tree, we should be as He Himself. It was jealousy that had made Him say,[118] "Ye shall not eat of it." In spite of all his urging, I remained steadfast and refused to touch the tree. Then the serpent engaged to pluck the fruit for me. Thereupon I opened the gate of Paradise, and he slipped in. Scarcely was he within, when he said to me, "I repent of my words, I would rather not give thee of the fruit of the forbidden tree." It was but a cunning device to tempt me more. He consented to give me of the fruit only after I swore to make my husband eat of it, too. This is the oath he made me take: "By the throne of God, by the cherubim, and by the tree of life, I shall give my husband of this fruit, that he may eat, too." Thereupon the serpent ascended the tree and injected his poison, the poison of the evil inclination, into the fruit,[119] and bent the branch on which it grew to the ground. I took hold of it, but I knew at once that I was stripped of the righteousness in which I had been clothed.[120] I began to weep, because of it and because of the oath the serpent had forced from me.

The serpent disappeared from the tree, while I sought leaves wherewith to cover my nakedness, but all the trees within my reach had cast off their leaves at the moment when I ate of the forbidden fruit.[121] There was only one that retained its leaves, the fig-tree, the very tree the fruit of which had been forbidden to me.[122] I summoned Adam, and by means of blasphemous words I prevailed upon him to eat of the fruit. As soon as it had passed his lips, he knew his true condition, and he exclaimed against me: "Thou wicked woman, what bast thou brought down upon me? Thou hast removed me from the glory of God."

At the same time Adam and I heard the archangel Michael[123] blow his trumpet, and all the angels cried out: "Thus saith the Lord, Come ye with Me to Paradise and hearken unto the sentence which I will pronounce upon Adam."[124]

We hid ourselves because we feared the judgment of God. Sitting in his chariot drawn by cherubim, the Lord, accompanied by angels uttering His praise, appeared in Paradise. At His coming the bare trees again put forth leaves.[125] His throne was erected by the tree of life, and God addressed Adam: "Adam, where dost thou keep thyself in hiding? Thinkest thou I cannot find thee? Can a house conceal itself from its architect?"[126]

Adam tried to put the blame on me, who had promised to hold him harmless before God. And I in turn accused the serpent. But God dealt out justice to all three of us. To Adam He said: "Because thou didst not obey My commands, but didst hearken unto the voice of thy wife, cursed is the ground in spite of thy work. When thou dost cultivate it, it will not yield thee its strength. Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee, and in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread. Thou wilt suffer many a hardship, thou wilt grow weary, and yet find no rest. Bitterly oppressed, thou shalt never taste of any sweetness. Thou shalt be scourged by heat, and yet pinched by cold. Thou shalt toil greatly, and yet not gain wealth. Thou shalt grow fat, and yet cease to live. And the animals over which thou art the master will rise up against thee, because thou didst not keep my command."[127]

Upon me God pronounced this sentence: "Thou shalt suffer anguish in childbirth and grievous torture. In sorrow shalt thou bring forth children, and in the hour of travail, when thou art near to lose thy life, thou wilt confess and cry, 'Lord, Lord, save me this time, and I will never again indulge in carnal pleasure,' and yet thy desire shall ever and ever be unto thy husband."[128]

At the same time all sorts of diseases were decreed upon us. God said to Adam: "Because thou didst turn aside from My covenant, I will inflict seventy plagues upon thy flesh. The pain of the first plague shall lay hold on thy eyes; the pain of the second plague upon thy hearing, and one after the other all the plagues shall come upon thee."[129] The serpent God addressed thus: "Because thou becamest the vessel of the Evil One,[130] deceiving the innocent, cursed art thou above all cattle and above every beast of the field. Thou shalt be robbed of the food thou wast wont to eat, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life. Upon thy breast and thy belly shalt thou go, and of thy hands and thy feet thou shalt be deprived. Thou shalt not remain in possession of thy ears, nor of thy wings, nor of any of thy limbs wherewith thou didst seduce the woman and her husband, bringing them to such a pass that they must be driven forth from Paradise. And I will put enmity between thee and the seed of man. It shall bruise thy head, and, thou shalt bruise his heel until the day of judgment."[131]

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