Tag Archives: the devil

The Jack-o-lantern: Or, the Story of Jack the Smith

Several centuries ago, there lived a drunkard known as Jack the Smith. He wandered the many towns and villages of Ireland, drinking, yelling, and making trouble wherever he went. Overtime, Jack became widely known as a deceiver and manipulator; he was a total blotch on society. On one cold, windy night, the Devil heard the stories of Jacks careless, evil deeds. The Devil, astonished that someone might rival his own evilness, set off to find Jack.

Traditional Irish Jack-o'-lantern.

Traditional Irish Jack-o’-lantern.

Jack was drunk, walking through the countryside, when he found a body laying on the pathway. The body, with a grimace across its face, was none other than the Devil. Jack sobered up and realized that his end was coming, quickly. But before the Devil could take Jack to Hell, Jack asked for a final request: a drink of ale. The Devil agreed and the two made their way to a local alehouse, where the Devil supplied Jack with copious amounts of alcohol. Once Jack had his fill, he asked the Devil to cover his tab, but the Devil had no money. So, Jack, using his manipulative tongue, convinced the Devil to metamorphose into a silver coin to pay for the tab. Instead of using the coin to pay for the tab, though, Jack stuck it in his pocket, next to a crucifix, disabling the Devils ability to escape. For his freedom, the Devil struck a deal with Jack: the Devil would spare Jack for ten years, if Jack let him go. Jack agreed and the years passed.

Ten years later, Jack was once again approached by the Devil. Jack feigned acceptance of following the Devil to Hell, but, similar to last time, he asked for one last request: an apple from a nearby tree. Foolishly, the Devil scampered up a local apple tree to get Jack his last and final apple. While the Devil was in the tree, Jack placed numerous crucifixes at its trunk, trapping the Devil in the tree. Frustrated at his entrapment, the Devil demanded a deal for his release. This time, thinking that he could avoid the Devil forever, Jack requested that his soul never be taken to Hell. The Devil agreed and was set free.

As with any living being, Jack eventually felt the tinge of death and he passed away. However, due to his evil deeds, he was denied the entrance to Heaven, so Jack turned to Hell for a place to rest his soul. Unfortunately, the Devil, committing to his deal, denied Jack entrance, dooming him to walk the Earth until the end of days. Taking pity on Jack, the Devil gave him a lantern, so Jack can see his way around the world, even at night. The Devil called it a Jack-o-lantern.