Here begins the work

Most serene prince and most powerful lord: Your Excellency will have seen and read already in many writings how that highest King of Kings and universal lord over all, Jesus our Saviour, went down to the hells and despoiled them, and those who knew they were His He powerfully seized from there and placed in Paradise, and He left Satan, the cause and perpetrator of evil, no less tied and bound, in firm enclosure. When the devils saw the defeat and disturbance that our Redeemer Jesus Christ had created in their hell, they went to see those places which had once held the prophets and holy fathers, and not finding any of them, and seeing their king captive and imprisoned in the abyss, they beat their breasts with their hands and gave great roars like lions, and with many tears they grew sad and tried with much solicitude to find some remedy for the damage they had suffered. As universally customary, serenest lord, they had a public council proclaimed, and once the realm of the devils was called and assembled, they elected among them one of the greatest who was called by the name of Onquevezes, and he proposed this before all of them:

"My brothers, you have already seen how little our strength and arts and wisdom have served; therefore each one of us must cease to be sad or troubled, but as wise and sagacious beings of prudence we ought not to think of anything but the recovery of our lost forces, since you already know what will befall in things which are delayed: when it grows late, afterwards, despite desire to accomplish them there is no place. And it surely seems to me that if some remedy could exist for this evil, it is that, since our mightiness has been so evilly harmed because of this man having come into the world, it would be well if we made in the world by our hand another man, who would attract men to our works and desires with his predictions and sagacity; and it must correspond to the engendering of this Jesus, so that he is engendered in some virgin of good life; and after engendering him, our power, as you know, is so great that we will teach him all things past and done; and once the man who knows this is in the company of the other men in the world, and once he has close and universal communication with them, he will surely be able to trick them to bring them under our sway, as the prophets tricked us. This is why you were called here, brothers and lords. My view on this I have stated. Each one of you should say what seems to you most necessary for our health and livelihood."

Once all had heard the arguments of Onquevezes, they exclaimed aloud what a good way that was to achieve their vengeance, and one stood up among them and said, "If the power to sleep with women had been given to me, surely I would be quite ready, because I have a woman so in hand that when I wish, I do and say to her what I please; but here among us there is someone who has the power to lie with women and beget on them sons like a carnal man; but he must do this as secretly as he may."

Then he who had that power arose and said, "It is true that that power to me is given, and if our remedy rests in that, carrying it out with all rapidity will not be stalled on my account."

All approved of this as good counsel and the most needful, and left the devil named Onquevezes in charge of everything. Oh what insane and raving counsel this was, which appears much like the devils itself, those who wished to oppose the divine power, as if anything could be hidden from our Redemptor! And so they left after that decision, and Onquevezes did not wait long to begin the execution of the task he had undertaken, and later that day he went to a woman whom he had at his beck and call; and this woman was the wife of a gentleman, who some say was named Merlin, and that because of this his grandson was also called by that name, and who had three daughters and a son, and many beasts, horses, mares, and all manner of flocks. And when the devil had come before her, he said, "Ah, my friend! I have loved and desired you so much for such a long time, and wished that you could serve and benefit me in a project of mine; and it seems to me that you do not tell me of your affairs, and then you try to excuse yourself before me, and you think I do not know it. I know that you are not happy with your husband, who is a disquieting and often angry man, and I wish from now on to ensure that he appreciates and loves you as you deserve."

She answered, "Certes, in some ways I endure pain and travail with him, but I know that it is his habit and it is not in the power of anyone to remedy it, and I wish to spend my life as well as possible."

The devil answered, "Do not fear that I would do anything which would not remedy your pain. Let me do what I will, and in a short time your life will become better than you ever believed possible."

She said that she did not want to start anything. The devil left somewhat disconcerted because he did not find her as he would have wished, and he began to consider what way remained to set the plot in motion, and he knew that the husband of this woman was so greedy that if anything of his holdings was lost, he would burn in live flame. Then the devil went to the stable where the gentleman kept his beasts and killed eight of the best stallions he had. And those who kept them went to tell their lord that they did not know who had killed the best horses he had in stable, and so quickly that no one knew why they had died.

When the lord heard the damage he had suffered, he was quite enraged and so furious that he wanted to kill everyone in his household, and he removed himself to a room so that he would have to see no one, and his wife consoled him, saying that he should not go to extremes, and that such things were in the hand of God and no one else, and that God must be praised for it, since He had given it and now chose to take it away so that the man would leave his sin. These and many other consoling things she said, so that Merlin felt a little of his sadness leave him, and his heart was at peace, and so he passed some days sadly.

When the devil saw the great scandal and perturbation that he created in the man's soul through taking away part of his holding, he believed he had no better way to achieve what he had begun; and the more damage that was done to the holdings, the more the man would be of the proper frame of mind. And he went to the stable he had been to before, and killed all or the greater part of the man's flocks. Those who kept them went to tell their lord. When he heard it, he was the saddest man possible, and he said with great rage, "Now I see that God wants to destroy all I have, and henceforth I will give it all to the devil, and he may avail himself of it as if it were his."

When the devil heard this, he rejoiced greatly and prepared to do him greater damage. The gentleman, quite desperate, held himself apart from communication with people. When the devil saw this, he knew his deed was close to its conclusion and went after the little boy whom his father loved and drowned him. And when his mother and father found him dead, their pain grew anew, and they considered what had happened before to be nothing compared to the loss of their son, and he was mourned greatly by all. And the man was extremely despairing, and retreated away from the communication of people in complete isolation; and the devil who does what he wishes with so many people made the woman feel such grief and trouble that it seemed to her that death would be a relief, and with the encouragement of the devil she tried to kill herself, and passed a cord around her throat and attached it to a beam on the ceiling of the house, and stood on a chest and let herself fall down, and thus died, since there was no one to help her. Merlin, having seen his wife dead by this chance, and his son dead and his affairs undone, fell into such sorrow that he fell dead from very grief. When the devil saw how well everything was turning out, he was happy, and he began to follow the three daughters with all diligence. Oh, while we live this arduous life, we should conform to the desires of the great God, and when some misfortune comes, give Him thanks and consider that nothing comes to us which we have not merited because of our sins!