A Town Crier - called Habarchi in ancient times




The book is composed of a few introductory pages, a main text and a circulatory letter plus a supplementary announcement. In the middle of the book, Gurdjieff reprints the title pages of Beelzebub's Tales. They differ from those of the eventually published (1950) version.

The recording will have six tracks. The total running time is about two and three quarter hours.


Paris 1932 (including extract from Prospectus)

Title Pages of First Book

Main Text (continued)

Circulatory Letter

Supplementary Announcement


I propose to finish the series of readings with the following documents

Glimpses of the Truth (1 hr 25 mins)

Scenario of the Struggle of the Magicians (1 hr 10 mins)

Painting by Alexandre de Salzmann from Dushka Howarth's book It's Up to Ourselves

Struggle of the Magicians de Hartman music (1914) played by Kremski

First documented dictation by Gurdjieff of the story of Beelzebub (3 mins)



What one can say of the putative “original” Russian text was that it was partially dictated and partially written in note form by Gurdjieff. In her unpublished memoir entitled “What For,” Olga expands on the moment: “This took place on December 16, 1934 [sic we presume he meant 1924], at 47, Blvd Pereire [sic]. On this specific night, Mr. Gurdjieff called his talk "The Conversation of the Old Devil with the Young One.” Gurdjieff dictated three pages that evening which I quote here.

That happened in the 123rd year after the creation of the world.

Through space, flew the ship ‘Karnak.’

It went from ‘Sirius’ by the Milky Way to the planet ‘Karatas.’ On the ship was Beelzebub with his kinsmen and near attendants. He returned home after the quite extraordinary events on the planet ‘Karatas,’ by the demands of his old friends. He consented to go to the conference about the events in which he was to take part.

Although he was already old to go such a long way, with all the inconveniences it presented, and it was not an easy work for his age, he in memory of his old friendship decided to accept this invitation. Only some months before this trip, he had returned to his home.

He passed many years far away in very inevitable conditions and this long and difficult life in quite unavoidable conditions, left on his health a big heaviness. Even time had already made him older, but these quite extraordinary conditions of his life, brought him to this state. In former times he had a strong, boiling and beautiful youth.

A long, long time ago, when he still existed among others as himself and lived on the Solar System Absolute, he was one of the nearest to the Eternal God. He, owing to his quite extraordinary burning, but not yet formed common sense because of his youth and inexperience, but also his unrestrained thought, but narrow understanding, convenient to each young brain—so once, in the organization of then world, he saw unlogical things according to his young understanding, and having found support among others also, some young brains also as he, he mixed himself up in what was none of his business. This mixing up owing to his boiling nature, already contaminated many other young brains, and practically brought a revolution to this enormous kingdom.

Learning about it, His Endlessness, in spite of his love, was obliged to send him away in exile, with the others, to a very far place, in the system ‘Ors,’ which is what this place was called in this solar system, and pointed out his special living place on one of the planets on this system, by the name of ‘Mars.’

This exile was shared with him by many of his kinsmen and subordinates and also by those who felt the same as he.

They went to this far away place, with all their household, so that during a year on this planet, a whole colony was built with all the things that happen in such cases. Little by little, this population accustomed itself to the new place and even found occupations on this planet as well as on those nearby . . .

These little ‘islands’ lost in the big universe, were poor of nature but the people lived there for many, many years which people then called centuries.

Olga does not say that she passed on to her husband a typed text or her written text to translate. In Our Life With Mr. Gurdjieff, she writes that Gurdjieff dictated the opening pages of the book in Russian, “and on the first draft from the beginning to the last page—which was written in the Café de la Paix in Paris on a little round marble table—he worked only with me.” I know of no extant portion of her transcription in the Russian language which would be, in effect, the “original” Russian text. Gurdjieff was said to have destroyed drafts after he had rewritten them, and it is assumed that he transcribed his dictated texts, once he recovered a capacity to write that his accident in July 1924 had diminished. However, it is probable that Gurdjieff made voluminous notes wherever he worked, and then dictated to someone the text they represented.