Apples of Sodom

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Bolton Hall

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Apples of Sodom.

First came the Priest. Amid lightnings and thunders he engraved it upon tables of stone: "Thou shalt not—shalt not—shalt not—drink gall." And men said: " Surely this gall has the savor of life; we must drink it or we die."

Next came the Prophet, and the Prophet put ashes upon his head and howled, " Whoso drinketh gall, upon his head shall ruin fall; his body shall God twist and his inwards shall Satan grip." The people said: " The Gods are jealous lest we should drink this gall, and become even as they."

Afterward came the Reformer, and he put taxes upon the manufacturer of gall; he licensed the selling and he prohibited the drinking of gall. Gall rose in price, so that men said, " How well would it be

with us could we but have our fill of gall."

Then came the Ruler, and he wrote a law and set it up in the Market Place, saying: " He that drinketh gall shall have his forehead branded with an iron; he shall be cast in the deepest dungeon, and he shall be hanged upon a tree." Men began to taste of the forbidden gall until a gall-drinking habit grew up.

At last came the Teacher, and he filled the cup with gall and pressed it to men's lips, " Drink Deep," he said, " and drain the dregs. Ay, have your fill of gall." And when men had drunken they found by proof that sin is vain; they knew the bitterness of gall.



  • Bolton Hall, “Apples of Sodom,” The Independent 53, no. 2734 (April 25, 1901): 951.