It was probably part of a compilation of short stories. I don't remember the title or the author's name, but remembered the idea of a man that literally turns into an angel/demon according to his behavior and must remember it.

N.B. - I think (based on the theme) it was a fantasy story, but I'm only 99% positive of that. Hopefully someone here will recognize it even if it's not; the subject matter is similar to SF-lovers' tastes.

Edit: it's foggy, but I seem to recall it was told from a first-person POV...


  • There is an old short story, nominally SF but actually fantasy, about a person who serves as a temporary substitute, first for God, and then the devil. I can't locate it at the moment, but if this sounds like what you're looking for, perhaps it can help someone else find it. Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 14:48

1 Answer 1


The story is most likely the short novel Mr Pye by Mervyn Peake.

Mr. Pye travels to the Channel Island of Sark to awaken a love of God in all the islanders. His landlady on the island, Miss Dredger, quickly becomes a devout follower of his teachings. and even agrees to allow the person she hates the most, Miss George, to stay in her house. As Pye does good works he gradually feels a stinging feeling on his back. On further investigation he discovers that he has started to grow angel's wings, and after consulting with a Harley Street doctor, he concludes the best thing to do is to stop doing good deeds, and instead does bad deeds.

He engages in some deliberately malicious acts, and after a time this results in him growing horns on his forehead. He is unable to decide what to do, but eventually decides to reveal his horned condition to the islanders, who chase him to the edge of a cliff, which Pye flies off using his wings.

  • having read the wikipedia article in your link (thanks!) it sounds nearly identical plot-wise, but I've no recollection of reading the (288 pg) novel, and rather have a more concise short-story version in mind... was it ever abridged or based on a short story later adapted to the novel? found no indication on-line... will mark as answer if no other is forthcoming...
    – SDH
    Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 10:51
  • There is an ebook that might help you decide from the selected pages it shows books.google.co.uk/books?id=jqO5EnaoN_oC Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 12:09
  • It's indeed "Mr. Pye". It was also made into a mini-series, which I remeber seeing in the late 80s. The scene where Pye peddle as mad on is bike - with an angry mob behind him - and then takes flight just as he reaches the cliffs is great. imdb.com/title/tt0307781/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1 Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 12:56
  • since the plot is identical to what I recall, this must indeed be the story. many thanks @35RC! (and all those who replied/edited)
    – SDH
    Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 21:39

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.