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AMERICAN STORIES - How John Boscoe Outsung the Devil

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原版故事链接:How John Boscoe Outsung the Devil by Arthur P. Davis Read on Google Docs

Now the special English program -- AMERICAN STORIES. Our story today is called ‘How John Boscoe Outsung the Devil.’ It was written by Arthur P. Davis. Here is Walter Galsery with the story.

Well, sir, speaking about singing, the folks down in my section of Virginia still talk about old John Boscoe and how he outsung the devil himself. Now this John Boscoe was a bass singer and he had the sweetest and deepest bass that anybody had ever listened to on this earth. A tall Black fellow - John was no great big man- He was just tall and thin. And he had no great bellows of chest like some signers. He was just tall and hollow-looking like one of them big pipes on the pipe organ.

John Boscoe
John Boscoe

But as I said, John could really sing. when he hit those high notes,his voice with sweet as silver tone as silver bell. As some folks say that even the bird used to shut up when John sang those sweet high notes. They kept quiet and just listened. And when it went down scale to the low notes, there was something in his singing that just tore at your inside. He went down that scale so far you could felt yourself throbbed and everything around you shaken.

John brought more folks to church by his singing and preacher did by his preach. The whole county, white, and black alike used come to hear John sing. Of course, the other singers in the church choir did not like John. He just drowned them out. Thus John knew he was good and let everybody else know it too much and too often. He got prouder and prouder and harder than ever to live with. He began to loose friends.

Well the pastor saw John changing too. So one Sunday, he preached a red-hot sermon on pray. He told how the devil got kicked out of the heaven because pride. And then pastor brought that sermon right home to John Boscoe.

He told how a man could let a voice. A voice that god had given him to do good. Go to his head and turn him against his friend.

And here, he turned around and looked right at John Boscoe up there in the choir while everybody else in the church held their breath. But John did not care. He did not even listen. But John’s wife did not miss a word. She told him how bad she felt to hear the pastor preaching right at her husband up there in public.

John was fierce and damned church and preacher and everybody in it. He did not need them. He did not need anybody. To hell with them!

Then after that, John’s pride got complete control of him.

He no longer cared about his family. He forgot about everything expect his own greatness. He kept saying, ‘I am the best bass singer in the county.’ Soon it became ‘the best singer in the state’. Then John began to boast ‘I am the best bass signer in the United States’.

One Saturday he walked into the village store and announced all the folks there, ‘I am the best bass signer in the whole world, and I know it. In fact, I’m the best damn bass singer in the universe including the stars above and the regions below.’

That was going too far. The folks felt god should cut him down. God took no notices of John’s wild talk. But there was someone else did, old Satan.

"You hear that fool", Satan said "I am going to step up there, teach him singing too."

So, pretty soon, As John Boscoe walked out into the fields, he met Old Satan who looked like any other dirty farmer. But John Boscoe knew right away it was the devil.

"How do you do? Sir" John said pleasantly to Satan.

The devil said with a kind of sneer, ‘I hear you think you can sing bass?’

Though devil or no devil, John did not like that. ‘I don’t think I can sing bass’, John came right back, ‘I know I can - more bass than anybody - anybody in the world.’

"How about the universe, including the stars above and the regions below?"

Old John felt sting, he forgot everything and blurted out, ‘Yes, sir. I mean just that - no less.’

‘You willing put your money where you mouth is ’, the devil asked.

John agreed to make a bet. The devil was now talking politely please because he had John where he wanted him.

‘If you sing the deeper bass than I could do’, the devil said, ‘I will give you anything you named. But if I beat you, I will take you soul right now.’

Old John Boscoe swelled up, like bull-frog.

‘Let’s get down to business.’

‘Just a minute’, Said the devil, ‘you have told me what you want if you win.’

‘Oh, I want’, said John, ‘Is a hall that will hold a million people. I want an orchestra of 1000 of the best players and a chorus of 1000 of the best singers in the world. And then I want to give a concert. All the history books will talk about the concert of John Boscoe, the greatest bass singer in the universe.’

Well, they agreed what to sing . John sang first, the pretty part, it was so sweet that all the angels must to have been listening, wishing they could sing like that.

Then John started down the scale. You could hear him clean over in the next state. He was down so low that the rumbling shook every house mile around. Folks knew it was John Bascoe singing.

Then they heard another voice after John finished. When this second voice sang the pretty first part of song, folks should not uneasy look in their eyes. The voice was sweet, they had to admit , but there were something too sweet about it, a kind of sinfully sweet like the taste to forbidden fruit.

Next, the second singer hit the lows and all hells seemed to break loose. The rumble was so low and so great, it was like 99 earthquake rolled in the one.

When John heard this, he knew he was whipped unless he got some help. He fell on his knees, raise his eyes to god and try to pray. But he could not say a word. He started to think about his pride and how it had brought him down. For the first time in many days, he remembered his wife , children, the trouble he had caused them. He was deeply moved, moved to tears.

All of suddenly, his mouth was free and he could pray, he lifted his hands and his eyes to heaven, cried, ‘Oh, lord. I have been a fool. Save me, lord, if it’s not asking too much. But if you don’t save me, look out for my wife and poor fatherless children. That’s all I ask, lord.’

The lord answered John, not by words or signs. But John knew lord had answered. He felt a new power within him. He fixed his eyes on old Satan and said politely. ‘I believe I’ve got a second chance coming to me.’ And then he began to sing again. His voice at first so natural-born sweet that folks fell down on their knees started to pray. Then John took it down the scale. Some folks said it was the deepest roll of thunder that the ear of mortal man had ever heard.

John said it was not thunder but god’s voice all mixed up with his own.

He felt so good. So at peace with the world that he had love in his heart, even for old Satan.

But Satan had gone. When he heard John’s last note, he knew what it happened and Satan’s not one to be around when god is speaking.

John Boscoe came home a changed man. There was no more bragging about his greatness. He went back to the church and to the choir. And he became friend and helpful to all his friends and brothers in the county.

He was good steward worker and veneer of lord until god decided to gather him to his person.

You have heard the story called ‘How John Boscoe Outsung the Devil. ’ It was written by Arthur P. Davis and adapted for special English by Harold Braverman. It first appeared in American Negro Stories edited by John Clawk. Published by Hell and Win in 1966. You narrator was Walter Galsery.

This story is copyrighted. All rights reserved. Listen again nest week at the same time for other American story told in special English. This is Shep O’Neal.

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