The story is introduced by a mini-essay in which Balzac asserts that at some time or another we all hope to profit from someone’s death, whether it’s in anticipation of acquiring inherited wealth or in longing for the cessation of a financial burden. In the story that follows, the main character exemplifies this shameful truth. Don Juan Belvidero is the son of a Spanish nobleman. Though he is spoiled to the fullest extent by his indulgent father, he can’t wait for the elder’s demise so he can claim the family wealth and title for himself. When the longed-for moment arrives, and he is called to his father’s death bed, he dutifully professes his filial love. His father then unexpectedly informs him that he is in possession of a vial of a magic, death-defying potion. If the son will only rub the liquid on his dead body, the father will come back to life. Don Juan assures his father that he will resurrect him, but will he keep his promise or leave his old man in the lurch?