As creation myths go, it’s delicious:
the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve,
the apple, the snake, the bite—
the tale says it all succinctly.
Then there’s the slaying of Abel
and us being Cain’s get:
take what you want, just pay for it.

But tell it as you will—it was no Fall.

The wonderful thing about myths is that while they may not be history, they are true.

Take what you want but pay for it, says God, is quoted as being a Spanish proverb by several mystery writers, among others, starting with Agatha Christie in 1938. However, I can uncover no further evidence that it is actually Spanish. The earliest mention I can find of it is in the University of the Sate of New York Bulletin of January, 1926. There it is said to be a Persian proverb, The Gods said to the mortals, “Take what you will and pay for it.”

Thank you for reading A dash, a running leap. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.


© 2013 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. This poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © 2013 by John Etheridge,


Filed under Poetry

2 responses to “Forbidden

  1. I’ve come to your blog via Holistic Wayfarer. I like these lines of yours, and especially relish the way the key thought is expressed through the title and that closing line.

    • I haven’t seen any poetry from Wayfarer for a while, I need to visit her. So glad you were kind enough to take the time to visit. And as to your liking this poem, all I can say is, Do you need a kidney? 😉 I thought it was rather fine too but it seems to have fallen on WordPress with a loud thud. Originally it was a lot longer and I worked darn hard to pair it down to this essential essence and then just about the only thing I had heard, before you wrote, was the sound of crickets. It is clear to me at least, that you have extremely good taste in poetry!

      All joking aside, thank you very much. Please visit often.