Short summary - The Daughter of Lilith - La Fille de Lilith - Anatole France

French literature summaries - 2021

Short summary - The Daughter of Lilith - La Fille de Lilith
Anatole France

Micro-narration: The student tells his teacher, the priest, the story of his love for an unusual woman.
The story is told from Ari's perspective.
France. Ari, traveling from Paris to the provinces. He yearns, prays and asks for salvation from the most severe depression. Having arrived in the town of Artigues, he meets with the curé Safrak, his former teacher at the college. Ari considers the priest to be the wisest and kindest person who can save his soul. Once a brilliant teacher, the priest now serves in a poor parish.
He shares his pride with his student: he recently finished writing the book "On the Creation of the World", where he recognizes that the achievements of science contribute to the development of religion, and claims that Adam had two wives: Lilith and Eve, which is not written in the Bible.
No! If the Bible did not reveal everything to us, this does not mean that she lied about anything.
Ari is interested in the teacher's research, but he is tormented by a terrible secret, in which he cannot wait to confess. The next day after Mass, the curé finally accepts his confession.
Ari says that he recently decided to marry for love and went to visit a friend in college, Paul D. Ervey, to call him as a witness. He agreed and introduced Ari to his mistress Leila, whom he brought from the East, having beaten off a friend there. Leila made a strange impression on Ari. In the expression of her golden eyes and the movements of her flexible body "in all her appearance, passionate and elusive", one felt "something alien to human nature."
Ari immediately fell in love with Leila, forgetting his bride. The girl also showed an unequivocal interest in him. They persistently sought out meetings and soon became close. Ari suffered from remorse and jealousy for Paul. He, having learned about the betrayal of his beloved, was close to insanity, threatened Leila with death. The girl mysteriously replied that she would be glad to die, but she could not.
Ari has never had such a relationship and such a woman. Leila gave him sexual pleasure, but she herself remained indifferent to affection. She did not know primitive things, but she possessed a mysterious mystical knowledge of the East, where she was from. She did not tell anything about her past, about her family, but kept the amulet with clay, which she received from her mother. She knew many Eastern legends, assured her lover that she was very old, was not committed to any religion, but called herself the daughter of Gd. She had no morality in the usual Ari sense.
The unstable happiness of the lovers lasted six months, and then Leila announced that she was returning to Persia. To Ari's reproach that she did not love him, the girl replied in the affirmative: “But how many other women who loved you more than I could not give you what you received from me. So be grateful to me. " Suffering Ari went to the priest Safrak for absolution.
The priest is terribly excited by what he heard: he suspects that his disciple met his daughter Lilith, about whom he wrote in the book. Lilith, not tainted by original sin and therefore immortal, "left him (Adam) and went to those lands" where in those days lived "pre-Adamites, brighter in mind and more beautiful than people."
Deprived of a soul,…. she is incapable of either virtue or vice. ... she does neither good nor evil. Her daughters ... are immortal, like her ... free in their actions and thoughts ...
Curé forgives the sins of the inconsolable disciple and promises to write to the bishop about this case, confirming his hypothesis about Adam's two wives. Ari shows the teacher a note in Persian left by Layla. The teacher translates: “Prayer of Leila, daughter of Lilith. My God, grant me death so that I can enjoy life. My God, grant me repentance so that I can know joy. My God, make me like the daughters of Eve! "