Lovecraft, Lovecraft-H.P.

The Alchemist

The AlchemistThe Alchemist

A young man grows up by himself in an old château with one old servant. The whole thing seems strange and the young man, Antoine, has always felt a weight upon his being. It it when he is twenty-one that the terrible truth comes out.

His family is cursed. There was father and a son who lived nearby, many years ago. They were strange. One day, the young man of the château went missing. A search party was formed. The elderly man was in his hut standing over a boiling pot. In anger, he was killed. Soon after, it was discovered that the young boy of the Chateau was fine. The son of the elderly man, swore vengeance on the family. There was a curse. All of the descendants of the family died by the time they were thirty-two.

Antoine now knew the terrible truth and tried to cherish what little time he had left. He also vowed that he would not let the curse be passed on, and so, lived alone. When the faithful servant finally died, it was just Antoine. He spent his time reading over old tomes and exploring the decaying château and neglected land.

One day, not too long before the appointed time of his death should come, Antoine found a strange passage way under a turret. He followed it along and found a strange man. The man sought to harm him, but Antoine dodged the attack. Antoine wondered who he was. Antoine wondered that if he could kill this man, who knew all about the curse, if his life would be spared.

The strange man revealed who he was. He had discovered the elixir of life and had lived these many years in sole determination to end the family line. Each descendant that had come through had been killed by this man. He was the very man whose father had been killed by Antoine’s ancestor.

Observations

This business about the elixir of life has been going on a long time. I’m not quite sure who started it. It’s been the subject of many books and conspiracy theories, but no one has ever discovered whatever it is that could make a person live forever. Maybe one day we’ll figure it out.

Themes

Here’s a thing–is fate real? If curses were real, fate would be real. If something was fated to happen to you, it would happen to you, no matter how much you pleaded, cried, begged, or schemed. This thing would happen whether you wanted it to or not.

If you make something happen, is it fate? If you cause the events to be put in motion, was it supposed to happen?

This is a real chicken-egg sort of question. Maybe fate is real and it uses you to put events in motion. Maybe you really were supposed to back into that tree, because fate willed it, but your own ignorance made it happen.

There was a curse, or maybe not, in this story. One man made it happen though. If one man makes something happen, is it fate? Is it some cosmic force, if one person is carrying it forward?

There is no definite answer for this. You cannot say for sure that you were fated to get up this morning and go to Starbucks for a Pumpkin Spice Latte, but it happened, didn’t it? Was it fate, or was it your own willpower? Does your conscious brain outweigh the idea of universal fate? Did you make that thing happen? Or did some unseen force make that thing happen?

We don’t know.

Overall

This guy needs to get a life. If I had eternal life, I wouldn’t spend it being a dick to people who had no part in what I was wronged over.

Weigh In

Is fate real, or did you do that thing yourself? How do you know?

What do you think of the alchemist? Loser–yes or no?

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