Spověď Dona Juana (The Confession of Don Juan) is a short story written by Karel Čapek. Though one of his masterpieces, the story is rather little known.

I learned about the story not in a literature class, but during my studies of psychopathology. I have never actually seen the story on paper, but have later heard it read on the radio in its Czech original, and it was truly one of the best written stories I have ever heard.

That was several decades ago, so I only remember the basic storyline without any details.

Anyway, Don Juan is dying. The local priest is trying to save his eternal soul and offers to hear his confession.

Don Juan agrees, and confesses how he lied and cheated on many an occasion, and how many hearts he broke.

The priest expects more. A lot more. But nothing more comes. Don Juan is silent.

The priest gets quite upset. After all, Don Juan's sexual immorality is no secret! He insists, but Don Juan refuses to say anything more. Frustrated, the priest refuses absolution.

That night a Jesuit priest happens to be passing through town and requests the local priest's hospitality. Naturally, he is welcome to stay.

The local priest then tells the Jesuit that Don Juan is dying in his town but that he was unable to save his soul because Don Juan refuses to confess to all his sins.

The Jesuit offers his assistance. He goes to see Don Juan and says something like, "I know this is painful to you, so just let me do all the talking, and you just nod."

Don Juan agrees, so the Jesuit starts. "My poor Don Juan," he says. "The nature has deprived you of what she gives to just about every other man."

Don Juan nods. The Jesuit continues.

"Every time you met a woman and went to her bedroom, you were able to charm her, and to start her going. But you were unable to perform. At the last minute you ran from her bedroom, breaking her heart, letting her think it was she who could not do it with the great Don Juan."

"And then you had to find another woman and run away from her. And another, and another, all the time."

"Poor Don Juan!"

Don Juan nods in tears. The Jesuit calls the local priest and says, "Don Juan has confessed to all his sins. You may now give him absolution. And let the whole world know, Father, it was you who saved the soul of Don Juan."

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