The Weight of a Soul

“And what is the weight of a soul? I ask,” Bart stroked the mustache which blossomed from his stiff upper lip like an unruly vine, “And furthermore, where is its residence?”

“The weight of a soul is dependent on the sins attached to it. And——”

“So the soul has no static weight, then?”

“Why none at all, as man has no static weight.”

“But is there not sufficient similarity between men’s weights to look at a weight and say, ‘By Jove, that appears to be the weight of a man!’?”

“Of course, but you cannot do the same for a soul.”

“And why ever not my dear preachman?”

“Because the soul’s weight can vary greatly. A good man’s soul will weight but a little, and slip lightly into heaven. A wicked man’s soul will be heavy that it’s weight will drag him to hell. Measuring the weight of dead bodies will do nothing to ascertain the weight of a soul. It is a fool’s errand and tempting deity besides.”

“The strike me a fool, because according to your account of the soul, a wicked man would be heavier in life than an upstanding fellow? Would he not?”

“Certainly, though weight alone cannot be used to determine the righteousness of an individual.”

“So the corpulent are not more wicked?”

“Oh, they certainly are. Don’t be obtuse, you know the price of gluttony as well as I.”

“I see no reason why, then, I should not be able to determine a generic weight of a soul.”

“Because you cannot measure it.”

“Why not? If I cannot measure it than it can it truly be said to exist?”

“Can you measure the sun?”

“Well, I suppose with enough ingenuity and the proper instruments——”

“Balderdash! You wouldn’t be able to measure it any more than you would be able to measure a soul.”

“The soul is light, then?”

“No. Certainly not.”

“What is its material, then?”

“Why spirit, of course,” he took a swig of ale.

“And what is spirit?”

“The substance that makes up the soul of man.”

“A circular definition. Does it also make up the soul of god and the other heavenly hosts?”


“So man, and god are one and the same.”

“Blasphemy. You know it is not so.”

“But if they are both made of spirit . . .” he let the statement float unfinished.

“God exists on a higher plane, you foolish meddler! As the bird is to the fish, so god is to us.”

“I feel your use of analogy betrays your lack of knowledge.”

“And you propose to understand it better? Ha!” he guffawed into his mug.

“I propose to know nothing, which is why I intend to experiment.”

“Blast your experiments.” He drank again, “And I mean that with all the energy of my soul. No good will come of them.”

“Speaking of your soul, where, in actuality, does it reside.”

“Why the heart of course. The scriptures say as much.”

“So if you remove a man’s heart, you remove his soul?”

“I suppose.”

“And if I were to take that heart and place it in another man, would he be reanimated as another, or as himself?”

“What sort of devilish question is this? You take me for a fool?” The preachman, stood abruptly in his rumpled robes. Ale tumbled down his front. “You ought to spend more time with the scriptures and less with those old tomes of yours if you know what’s good for you.”

“Ah, yes. I wouldn’t want my soul to augment in weight.”

“Good day!” the preachman boomed. He made to go, but hesitated, and then took one last swig of ale before stomping out of the pub with all the indignation of an offended holy man, wiping his mouth on his cuff.

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