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In the Cool of the Evening is a short story by Agatha Christie with a religious theme which was first published as part of the anthology Star Over Bethlehem and other stories.

Summary

Major Rodney Grierson and his wife, Janet, are at Evensong. She is praying desperately for a miracle cure for their son, Alan, who is thirteen and mildly retarded. Arriving home after the service, Alan greets them with a strange creature he has found in the garden. Part frog, it has wings and feathers and is a mutation caused by a leak some time ago from a local research station on the downs. Alan tells them he has named the creature a “Raphion” and he has named it and other strange creatures with the help of his “friend” who is down the bottom of the garden. Alan wants to know where they have been and what a “church” is. His parents tell him it is God’s house. After supper, Alan asks permission to go back down to the bottom of the garden and help his “friend” continue to name the new species. His parents say yes and Alan meets up with his “friend” again. As they continue to name the new animals, Alan asks Him if He is God. He says yes and when asked if he lives in a church, he replies, “I live in many places... But sometimes, in the cool of the evening, I walk in a garden – with a friend and talk about the New World...”

Characters

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