A tale on the classic theme of ‘The Problems With Wishes.’ A man comes across the remarkable opportunity to buy a bottle containing an imp – who, genie-like, will fulfill all the wishes of his owner. The catch? If the owner dies in possession of the bottle, he or she will be damned for all eternity. The bottle cannot be given away, only sold – and it may only be sold for a lesser price than it was bought for.
It’s a great set-up, and Stevenson does it full justice.
It’s also worth mentioning that the main characters are native Hawaiian – the setting was based on Stevenson’s 1889 travels in the then-independent Hawaii. There is no ‘exotification’ of the characters’ background at all – interestingly, the story was first published in the Samoan language, according to Stevenson, ‘for a Polynesian audience.’