"I Am Willing To Taste Any Drink Once"

Context: Jurgen, mildly satirical, is a fanciful romance with mythological figures, knightly adventures, magic, and fantastic events. Jurgen, a pawnbroker in Poictesme, an unidentified land, one day has the occasion to speak a good word for the Devil, whereupon a "black gentleman," whom he meets shortly afterwards, thanks him and assures him that he will be rewarded. Now it happens that Jurgen, artistically temperamental, has a shrewish wife who does not understand him, much to the dismay of the black gentleman, who feels that a person willing to speak a kind word for evil should be more fortunate than to have such a wife. When Jurgen returns home and finds his wife missing, he realizes that her disappearance is his reward. However, his wife after a while having been seen walking in Amneran Heath, Jurgen, wanting to do the manly thing, goes after her. Following her into a cave, he meets a Centaur and is informed that in order to rescue his wife he must travel to Koshchei the Deathless, "who made things as they are." Learning that he must travel in "a round-about way," he replies:

Needs must, then . . . at all events, I am willing to taste any drink once.