Pilgrim’s Progress: Doubting Castle

I am away on a mission, so while I am away I thought I’d share seven sections of the best book (save the Bible) that anyone could ever read and from which this blog acquired its name. I hope you are spurred on to pick up a copy of Pilgrim’s Progress and read it.

Now there was, not far from the place where they lay, a castle, called Doubting Castle, the owner whereof was Giant Despair; and it was in his grounds they now were sleeping: wherefore he, getting up in the morning early, and walking up and down his fields, caught Christian and Hopeful asleep in his grounds. Then with a grim and surly voice, he bid them awake, and asked them whence they were, and what they did in his grounds. They told him they were pilgrims, and that they had lost their way.

Then said the Giant, ‘You have this night trespassed on me by trampling in and lying on my grounds, and therefore you must go along with me.’

So they were forced to go, because he was stronger than they. They also had but little to say, for they knew themselves in a fault. The Giant, therefore, drove them before him, and put them into his castle, into a very dark dungeon, nasty and stinking to the spirits of these two men. Here, then, they lay from Wednesday morning till Saturday night, without one bit of bread, or drop of drink, or light, or any to ask how they did; they were, therefore, here in evil case, and were far from friends and acquaintance. Now in this place Christian had double sorrow, because it was through his unadvised counsel that they were brought into this distress.

 

‘These,’ said [Giant Despair], ‘were pilgrims, as you are, once, and they trespassed on my grounds, as you have done; and when I thought fit I tore them in pieces; and so within ten days I will do you. Go get you down to your den again.’ And with that he beat them all the way thither.

They lay, therefore, all day on Saturday in a lamentable case, as before. Now, when night was come, and when Mrs. Diffidence and her husband the Giant was got to bed, they began to renew their discourse of their prisoners; and withal, the old Giant wondered that he could neither by his blows nor counsel bring them to an end. And with that his wife replied, ‘ I fear,’ said she, ‘that they live in hopes that some will come to relieve them; or that they have picklocks about them, by the means of which they hope to escape.’

‘And sayest thou so, my dear?’ said the Giant; ‘I will therefore search them in the morning.’

Well, on Saturday, about midnight they began to pray, and continued in prayer till almost the break of day.

Now, a little before it was day, good Christian, as one half amazed, break out into this passionate speech: ‘What a fool,’ quoth he, ‘am I, thus to lie in a stinking dungeon, when I may as well walk at liberty! I have a key in my bosom, called Promise, that will, I am persuaded, open any lock in Doubting Castle.’

Then said Hopeful, ‘That is good news; good brother, pluck it out of thy bosom, and try.’

‘Then Christian pulled it out of his bosom, and began to try the dungeon-door, whose bolt, as he turned the key, gave back, and the door flew open with ease, and Christian and Hopeful both came out. Then he went to the outward door that leads into the castle-yard, and with his key opened that door also. After he went to the iron gate, for that must be opened too; but that lock went desperately hard, yet the key did open it. They then thrust open the gate to make their escape with speed; but that gate, as it opened, made such a creaking, that it waked Giant Despair, who hastily rising to pursue his prisoners, felt his limbs to fails, for his fits took him again, so that he could by no means go after them. Then they went on, and came to the King’s highway, and so were safe, because they were out of his jurisdiction.

Now, when they were gone over the stile, they began to contrive with themselves what they should do at that stile, to prevent those that shall come after from falling into the hands of Giant Despair. So they consented to erect there a pillar, and to engrave upon the side thereof this sentence:

“Over this stile is the way to Doubting Castle,
which is kept by Giant Despair,
who despieth the King of the Celestial country,
and seeks to destroy his holy pilgrims.”

Many, therefore, that followed after, read what was written, and escaped the danger.

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