Shortly after Elka’s death, the story’s main antagonist, The Spirit of Evil—a classic demon figure, with horns, pointy teeth, a tail, and a goatee—appears to Gimpel in his sleep and encourages him to get revenge at the people of Frampol for the years they’ve spent mocking and deceiving him. The Spirit suggests that Gimpel make a habit of urinating in the bread that he sells them. Not only does the Spirit propose a revenge plot, something quite foreign to Gimpel’s nature, he also challenges some of Gimpel’s fundamental and most cherished beliefs. When Gimpel asks whether the trick the Spirit recommends will in any way hurt his chances for the next life, the Spirit sneeringly replies that there is no afterlife. When Gimpel asks if there is a God, the Spirit matter-of-factly declares that there is no God, either. When Gimpel asks what does exist, the Spirit says, simply: “a thick mire”—basically, a giant swamp of nothingness. Everything is false, he insists, so it won’t matter if Gimpel throws some more falsehood into the mix. This Spirit of Evil might equally be called the Spirit of Negation. While Gimpel is tempted by the Spirit’s words, he ultimately rejects the Spirit’s advice. By the end of the story, he articulates a philosophy that is the exact opposite of the nihilistic worldview the Spirit of Evil promotes. Instead of everything being false and fake, Gimpel comes to believe that in God’s expansive universe everything is true and real, even the apparently imaginary or impossible. The Spirit of Evil’s plea for deception becomes symbolic of faithlessness, of the attitude of the person who believes in nothing, whereas Gimpel’s is that of the pious man of faith, who deems whatever he encounters a meaningful and sacred part of God’s reality. For the Spirit of Evil, nothing matters. For Gimpel, everything matters immensely.