As part of my children’s eduction I believe that they ought to cultivate their imagination which is often short-circuited by the overly visual nature of current western culture. We no longer need to imagine anymore because TV and the cinema does all our imagining for us and we compulsively consume rather lazily.
So in response, my wife and I have taken up reading stories to our children in leu of screen time. Recently, I decided to introduce to my children one of the great evils of fictional writing - Count Dracula.
The count is profoundly evil, more demon than man. So terribly alive and yet manifestly dead. Seemingly a gentleman and courteous, and yet is consumed so completely by his own desires without compromise. Hating all that is good and right, he is a cunning destroyer of the young and old, man and woman.
Early in the story we learn of Jonathan Harker, one of our heroes, who has been summoned by the Count to assist him in securing residence in London. Harker, not knowing what awaits him, sees such an invitation as business-as-usual but quickly learns that it is not so.
Harker comes to know that he is a prisoner of the Count, and the Count, knowing Harker had resigned himself as such, explains that Harker may only sleep in his bedroom, the dining room, and the library. Should he sleep anywhere else, the Count will not be responsible should another kind of danger befall our hero.
It so happens, as it does in stories such as these, that Harker does indeed begin to fall asleep on a couch in a room he ought not. As he was between waking and sleeping the moonlight gave shape to three women, two with black hair and one with fair hair. Harker records in his journal the whole ordeal in the following words:
The fair girl advanced and bent over me till I could feel the movement of her breath upon me. Sweet it was in one sense, honey-sweet, and sent the same tingling through the nerves as her voice, but with a bitter underlying the sweet, a bitter of offensiveness, as one smells in blood…There was a deliberate voluptuousness which was both thrilling and repulsive, and as she arched her neck she actually licked her lips like an animal.
Just before Harker falls victim to the vampire’s bite, Dracula, appearing out of nowhere, seems almost instantly to throw the fair woman back only to say, “How dare you touch him, any of you? How dare you cast eyes on him when I had forbidden it?”
To this the three greatly protest and mock the Count for his apparent faux concern for Harker, but Dracula assures them, “Well, now I promise you that when I am done with him you shall kiss him at your will.”
Harker had surely found himself in a most horrific predicament and yet as the story progresses he is able to escape and the fiendish foes are overcome and destroyed.
When I was a younger man, my Dad would regularly remind my brothers and I to be careful of the woman from Proverbs 5. Dad referred to her as the “wicked woman”. I submit to you that here we see in Harker’s account a manifestation of what the Scriptures portray in Proverbs 5 when speaking of a woman of similar evil.
God’s word says of this woman,
3 For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil: 4 But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. 5 Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell…8 Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house: 9 Lest thou give thine honour unto others, and thy years unto the cruel: 10 Lest strangers be filled with thy wealth; and thy labors be in the house of a stranger; 11 And thou morn at last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed.
While vampires are something for books and movies the Scriptures tell us of a very real type of woman who is both sweet and bitter and to pursue or be entrapped by such a woman means the loss of one’s health, wealth, and honor.
Young men who would live godly lives, stand and take note that such a woman exists and that she is a real danger to you both spiritually and physically. Mothers and fathers who wish to raise godly sons, be sure to teach line upon line the truth spoken here in Proverbs chapter five.
It is beyond contestation that the strongest man who has ever lived (Judges 16) and the wisest man who has ever lived (I Kings 11:4) were both undone by a woman or women like the one described in Proverbs 5. While it is true that sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, it also true that fiction at times largely borrows from the truth in the telling of a story.
Be sober; be vigilant. Stoker’s depiction of the three wicked sisters is not too far off the mark.