The Azazel short stories by Isaac Asimov all followed a common theme: narrator would sit down for a drink with his friend, knowing full well that at a specific level of drunkeness he would begin to tell him a new story about this small demon-like creature he had exclusive access to. Azazel wasn't actually a demon, he was some kind of interdimensional alien life form, but he spoke English and delighted in using his powers to help out humans since, among his own people, he was considered something of a loser.

Anyways, this friend was verboten by Azazel to use his powers for his personal edification (no making large piles of gold or granting immortality); instead, Azazel would help out people he knew on the sly with whatever difficulties they were facing. The help was always well-intentioned, and would always go spectacularly wrong. The fun was in watching just how they would screw up.

One story, for instance, involved a very beautiful woman who came to Azazel's "master" for help in meeting men. Her looks and personality were winners, but she was upset because even a mild serving of alcohol would turn her into a complete fool. Azazel was consulted secretly for help, and after a quick briefing on the effect of alcohol on the human body and brain, Azazel announced he could change her body so that alcohol would be completely metabolized before it could cause intoxication.

Once the woman found out she was immune to drunkeness, she began "hanging out with the guys" at the bars on a daily basis. Then the nature of Azazel's boon became apparent: the alcohol, once metabolized by her body, was unused for any energy purposes and was thus quickly converted into fat. Enormous amounts of it. Needless to say, she wasn't terribly grateful.

This limerick was written by Asimov and published on the back of the dust jacket of the first "Azazel" story collection:

A small demon whose name is Azazel
Has magical powers that dazzle.
      But those people who strive
      To get them derive
Nothing much, and are beat to a frazzle.
1. in Jewish legend, a demon or evil spirit to whom, in the ancient rite of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), a scapegoat was sent bearing the sins of the Jewish people. Two male goats were chosen for the ritual, one designated by lots "for the Lord," the other "for Azazel" (Leviticus 16:8).

The ritual was carried out by the high priest in the Second Temple and is described in the Mishna. After the high priest symbolically transferred all the sins of the Jewish people to the scapegoat, the goat destined "for Azazel" was driven into the wilderness and cast over a precipice to its death. Azazel was the personification of uncleanness and in later rabbinic writings was sometimes described as a fallen angel.

2. A demon of the second order, guardian of the goat, described by John Milton as "the standard bearer of rebellious angels by this name" (Paradise Lost, 1, 534). In Islamic demonology Azazel is a djinn, who is cast from heaven for refusing to honour Adam. His name was changed to Eblis, which means 'despair'.

According to the Book of Enoch, Azazel was one of the leaders of the fallen angels who came to earth to mate with mortal women. He supposedly taught men the art of making weapons and introduced women to cosmetics, thus encouraging vanity.

"Go to Azazel" is the Hebrew equivalent of "go to hell", or probably the less contemporary "go to the Devil".


One of the chief SONS OF GOD who came to earth and was corrupted by cohabitation. Azazel (whose name means "God strengthens") brought aggression (by teaching men to make swords and shields) and vanity (by teaching women how to use cosmetics). The Book of Enoch cites Azazel as among twenty-one chiefs of two hundred fallen angels.

In Judaic lore, Azazel figures prominently in folktales, along with another fallen angel, SEMYAZA (Shemhazaj). He is sometimes described as demonic in appearance, with seven serpent heads, fourteen faces and twelve wings.

In one source of Islamic lore, Azazel refuses to bow down to Adam, and so God casts him out of heaven and changes him into IBLIS. In the Qur'an though it says that his name was first Iblis, then changed to Shaytan after he was thrown out of heaven

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