CHRISTIAN'S FIGHT WITH THE MONSTER APOLLYON
By John Bunyan
In the Valley of Humiliation, poor Christian was
hard put to it; for he had gone but a little way, before he espied
a foul Fiend coming over the field to meet him; his name is
Apollyon. Then did Christian begin to be afraid, and
to cast in his mind whether to go back or to stand his ground: But
he considered again that he had no Armour for his back, and
therefore thought that to turn the back to him might give him the
greater advantage with ease to pierce him with his Darts.
Therefore he resolved to venture and stand his ground; For,
thought he, had I no more in mine eye than the saving of my life,
'twould be the best way to stand.
So he went on, and Apollyon met him. Now the Monster was
hideous to behold; he was cloathed with scales like a Fish (and
they are his pride); he had wings like a Dragon, feet like a Bear,
and out of his belly came Fire and Smoke; and his mouth was as the
mouth of a Lion. When he was come up to Christian, he
beheld him with a disdainful countenance, and thus began to
question with him.
APOL. Whence come you? and whither are you bound?
CHR. I am come from the City of Destruction, which is the
place of all evil, and am going to the City of Zion.
APOL. By this I perceive thou art one of my Subjects, for all that
country is mine, and I am the Prince and God of it. How is it then
that thou hast run away from the King? Were it not that I hope
thou mayest do me more service, I would strike thee now at one
blow to the ground.
CHR. I was born indeed in your dominions, but your service was
hard, and your wages such as a man could not live on, for the
wages of sin is death; therefore when I was come to years, I
did as other considerate persons do, look out, if perhaps I might
find something better.
APOL. There is no Prince that will thus lightly lose his Subjects,
neither will I as yet lose thee: but since thou complainest of thy
service and wages, be content to go back; what our country will
afford, I do here promise to give thee.
CHR. But I have let myself to another, even to the King of
Princes, and how can I with fairness go back with thee?
APOL. Thou hast done in this, according to the Proverb, changed a
bad for a worse; but it is ordinary for those that have professed
themselves his Servants, after a while to give him the slip, and
return again to me: Do thou so too, and all shall be well.
CHR. I have given him my faith, and sworn my allegiance to him;
how then can I go back from this, and not be hanged as a Traitor?
APOL. Thou didst the same to me, and yet I am willing to pass by
all, if now thou wilt yet turn again and go back.
CHR. What I promised thee was in my non-age; and besides, I count
that the Prince under whose Banner now I stand is able to absolve
me; yea, and to pardon also what I did as to my compliance with
thee; and besides, O thou destroying Apollyon, to speak
truth, I like his Service, his Wages, his Servants, his
Government, his Company and Country, better than thine; and
therefore leave off to persuade me further; I am his Servant, and
I will follow him.
APOL. Consider again when thou art in cool blood, what thou art
like to meet with in the way that thou goest. Thou knowest that
for the most part, his Servants come to an ill end, because they
are transgressors against me and my ways: How many of them have
been put to shameful deaths; and besides, thou countest his
service better than mine, whereas he never came yet from the place
where he is to deliver any that served him out of our hands; but
as for me, how many times, as all the World very well knows, have
I delivered, either by power or fraud, those that have faithfully
served me, from him and his, though taken by them; and so I will
CHR. His forbearing at present to deliver them is on purpose to
try their love, whether they will cleave to him to the end; and as
for the ill end thou sayest they come to, that is most glorious in
their account; for present deliverance, they do not much
expect it, for they stay for their Glory, and then they shall have
it, when their Prince comes in his and the Glory of the Angels.
APOL. Thou hast already been unfaithful in thy service to him, and
how dost thou think to receive wages of him?
CHR. Wherein, O Apollyon, have I been unfaithful to him?
APOL. Thou didst faint at first setting out, when thou wast almost
choked in the Gulf of Dispond; thou didst attempt wrong
ways to be rid of thy Burden, whereas thou shouldest have stayed
till thy Prince had taken it off; thou didst sinfully sleep and
lose thy choice thing; thou wast also almost persuaded to go back,
at the sight of the Lions; and when thou talkest of thy Journey,
and of what thou hast heard and seen, thou art inwardly desirous
of vain-glory in all that thou sayest or doest.
CHR. All this is true, and much more which thou hast left out; but
the Prince whom I serve and honor is merciful, and ready to
forgive; but besides, these infirmities possessed me in thy
Country, for there I sucked them in, and I have groaned under
them, been sorry for them, and have obtained Pardon of my Prince.
APOL. Then Apollyon broke out into a grievous rage, saying,
I am an enemy to this Prince; I hate his Person, his Laws, and
People; I am come out on purpose to withstand thee.
CHR. Apollyon, beware what you do, for I am in the King's
High-way, the way of Holiness, therefore take heed to yourself.
APOL. Then Apollyon straddled quite over the whole breadth
of the way, and said, I am void of fear in this matter; prepare
thyself to die; for I swear by my infernal Den, that thou shalt go
no further; here will I spill thy soul.
And with that he threw a flaming Dart at his breast, but
Christian had a Shield in his hand, with which he caught
it, and so prevented the danger of that.
Then did Christian draw, for he saw 'twas time to bestir
him: and Apollyon as fast made at him, throwing Darts as
thick as Hail; by the which, notwithstanding all that Christian
could do to avoid it, Apollyon wounded him in his head,
his hand, and foot: This made Christian give a little
back; Apollyon therefore followed his work amain, and
Christian again took courage, and resisted as manfully
as he could. This sore Combat lasted for above half a day,
even till Christian was almost quite spent; for you must
know that Christian, by reason of his wounds, must needs
grow weaker and weaker.
Then Apollyon espying his opportunity, began to gather up
close to Christian, and wrestling with him, gave him a
dreadful fall; and with that Christian's Sword flew out of
his hand. Then said Apollyon, I am sure of thee now: and
with that he had almost pressed him to death, so that Christian
began to despair of life: but as God would have it, while
Apollyon was fetching of his last blow, thereby to make
a full end of this good man, Christian nimbly stretched
out his hand for his Sword, and caught it, saying, Rejoice
not against me, O mine Enemy! when I fall I shall arise;
and with that gave him a deadly thrust, which made him give
back, as one that had received his mortal wound: Christian,
perceiving that, made at him again, saying, Nay, in all
these things we are more than Conquerors through him that
loved us. And with that Apollyon spread forth his Dragon's
wings, and sped him away, that Christian for a season
saw him no more.
In this Combat no man can imagine, unless he had seen and heard as
I did, what yelling and hideous roaring Apollyon made all
the time of the fight, he spake like a Dragon; and on the other
side, what sighs and groans burst from Christian's heart. I
never saw him all the while give so much as one pleasant look,
till he perceived he had wounded Apollyon with his two-
edged Sword; then indeed he did smile, and look upward; but 'twas
the dreadfullest sight that ever I saw.
So when the Battle was over, Christian said, I will here
give thanks to him that hath delivered me out of the mouth of the
Lion, to him that did help me against Apollyon. And so he
did, saying, Great Beelzebub, the Captain of this Fiend,
Design'd my ruin; therefore to this end He sent him harness'd out:
and he with rage That hellish was, did fiercely me engage: But
blessed Michael helped me, and I By dint of Sword did
quickly make him fly. Therefore to him let me give lasting praise,
And thank and bless his holy name always. Then there came to him a
hand, with some of the leaves of the Tree of Life, the which
Christian took, and applied to the wounds that he had
received in the Battle, and was healed immediately. He also sat
down in that place to eat Bread, and to drink of the Bottle that
was given him a little before; so being refreshed, he addressed
himself to his Journey, with his Sword drawn in his hand; for he
said, I know not but some other Enemy may be at hand. But he met
with no other affront from Apollyon quite through this