Toward the end of the eighteenth century there lived in Kraków a magician, Mr Twardowski, who quite properly was called the Faust of Poland, because of his dealings with the Evil One.
In his youth Twardowski had followed the study of medicine, and became the most celebrated doctor in all Poland. But Twardowski was not satisfied with this. He craved greater and still greater power.
At last one day, as he was reading, he found in an old book of magic - the formula for summoning the devil. When night came, a storm had risen, and he began his incantations.
Before long the ground opened at Twardowski's feet and flames leaped out; and in the flames appeared the Evil One himself, in the form of a man in a red cloak with the well-known pointed red cap.
"I am Mefistofeles. What do you wish?" the devil asked.
"The power of your most secret wisdom," was the answer.
"And how is this to be done?"
"You shall make me the most celebrated of all the learned men of the century, and shall besides give me such happiness as no man has ever enjoyed upon this earth before."
"So be it," said the devil. "But on condition that at the end of seven years I gain possession of your soul."
"You may take me," answered Twardowski, "but only in Rome you will have power over me.
The devil hesitated over this clause, but thinking of the fun he could have in the holy city, finally agreed. Leaning against the wall of stone he wrote the compact, which Twardowski, making a slight wound in his arm, signed with his own blood.
When morning came, the first thing that he demanded was to have all the silver of Poland gathered together in one place and covered over with great mounds of sand. One day it would please Twardowski to fly without wings through the air; on another, to the delight of the crowd, to gallop backward on a rooster; on another to float in a boat without a rudder or sail, accompanied by some maiden who for the moment had inflamed his heart. One day, by the use of his magic mirror, he set fire to the castle of an enemy a mile away. This last feat made him greatly feared by people far and wide.
At last the seven years were up. The devil appeared to Twardowski and said:
"Twardowski, the time of our pact is over, and I command you to fulfill your promise and go to Rome."
"What shall I do there?"
"Give me your immortal soul," was the answer.
"Do you think I am a fool?" asked Twardowski.
Then the devil vanished and Twardowski returned home.
Twardowski was becoming younger, and stronger and he desired, above all things, to be freed forever from his compact with the devil.
Long years of evading his fate and offending the devil, he was putting his life into a great danger. One day it was him who got tricked.
Once the devil requested a meeting in a certain tavern near Kraków, and upon arriving Twardowski felt something strange as if his powers were being overtaken. Devil laughed – the tavern was called ‘Rome’!
Twardowski tried to escape but since the clause of the contract was fullfilled, the devil started growing stronger than him. The Master eventually managed to summon a magical rooster with his remaining powers, and flew off riding on its back. The devil chased them but the rooster tookTwardowski up to the moon, where devil could not go.
And so, according to the story, Twardowski is suspended in the vault of heaven to this very day