Sunday, October 31, 2010

Stingy Jack

An old legend about Hallowe'en goes something like this...

A long, long time ago - a couple hundred years ago, there was a deceitful, bad-tempered drunk everyone called "Stingy Jack." Now, Stingy Jack didn't care what people thought of him and he constantly ticked people off by playing practical jokes on unsuspecting bystanders.

Nobody was suprised when, one late night, while Jack was in a public house (a pub) drinking as usual - he got in a tad bit of trouble...

...you see - Jack ran into The Devil, Himself on this fateful cold, autumn evening.

As I already mentioned, Jack was drinking at the public house when a stranger sat beside him. Stingy and cheap as he was, Jack hadn't brought enough money with him and looked upon the stranger as an easy target for manipulation to garner himself a little more to drink before the night wore on. Jack struck up some conversation and in a short while, he offered his soul to the Devil in exchange for one last drink.

With the deal spoken, the Devil changed himself into a sixpence as payment to the bartender for Stingy Jack's drink but Jack took action in the blink of an eye and scooped up the sixpence off the counter, dropping it quickly in his pocket - right beside a silver cross. The proximity to the silver cross kept the Devil from being able to shape shift back into human form, so with the Devil literally at his mercy, Stingy Jack offered new terms to the Devil. Jack made the Devil promise to leave him alone for 10 years and if this was agreed upon, only then would Jack release the Devil from his pocket. Once the Devil agreed to this, Jack downed his drink and got up to leave, flicking the coin/sixpence in the corner while he was on his way out the door. As promised, the Devil let Jack alone and didn't bother him again.

That is - the Devil didn't bother Stingy Jack for all of ten years...as per agreement.

One night, 10 years after the incident in the public house, Jack was walking alone on a cold, dark, autumn night - along a winding path, working his way home (probably from the public house...again!). The Devil was hiding behind an apple tree a little way down the road and once Jack came near, the Devil jumped out and blocked Stingy Jack's progress. The Devil told Jack he had come to claim his soul, as per agreement. Still quick-thinking, Jack didn't bother to argue at all but asked, instead, for the Devil to allow him the pleasure of one last, juicy apple before taking his soul forever. The Devil agreed to this and jumped up in the apple tree to fetch Jack an apple...

As soon as the Devil leaped upward into the tree, Stingy Jack threw down a number of crosses on the ground all around the trunk of the apple tree... this trapped the Devil where he perched above in the tree. This time, Jack made the Devil promise NOT TO take his soul once Jack died. The Devil ended up having to agree to Jack's demand or else remain stuck in the apple tree. The Devil wasn't happy about this at all but after only a few moments of deliberation, the Devil agreed.

A few years later, Stingy Jack passed away. The Devil kept to his agreement, however, and did NOT try to collect Jack's soul in any way.

When Jack's spirit arrived at the Gates of Heaven, Saint Peter refused to let Jack in. The bad-tempered, miserable person Jack was all his life was not ever going to be welcome in Heaven, and Saint Peter promptly turned Jack away. This meant Jack had to go the other way and go ask for admittance from the Devil - in Hell.

When Jack arrived at the brink of Hell, the Devil remembered him and reminded Jack of the agreements made years ago. The Devil was simply keeping to His word - which meant Jack's soul would have no entry anywhere and Jack was turned away - even from Hell...

When Jack asked, "But where will I go now?"
The Devil responded, "Back to where you came from."

Jack turned to go but it was dark, so Jack asked the Devil for at least a little light so he'd be able to find his way around.

To that, the Devil tossed some embers at Jack - burning coals from the depths of Hell, and yelled, "BEGONE!"

Jack found and hollowed out a turnip and put the embers from Hell inside so the burning matter could be carried. Since the time when Stingy Jack was refused entry to Heaven and also banned from Hell, he has been wandering the Earth without a place to righfully settle. He is forever doomed, his only light, the embers of Hell burning from within the turnip he found.

2 comments:

  1. I accidentally viewed your blog and I was so amazed with your work that it touched the deepness of my heart. It made me sentimental. Thanks for posting.

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  2. First time I commented in a blog! I really enjoy it. You have an awesome post. Please do more articles like this. I'm gonna come back surely. God bless.

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