Friday, October 31, 2008

The legend of Stingy Jack
In old Ireland, there was a drunkard named Jack. Jack was so stingy that he only ate turnips. He spent most of his days and most of his nights at the pub.
On one of these nights he said he'd trade his soul for a shilling for just one more drink. Well the ol' Devil heard this and asked Stingy Jack if he meant it. Jack replied
"oh yes, my soul for another drink".
So the Satan turned himself into a shilling and spun 'round landing on the bar. Kinda gives new meaning to "the love of money is the root of all evil" doesn't it?
Instead of buying a pint with that coin, Stingy Jack put that devil of a coin into his pocket and headed home, munching on a turnip. He kept it there for some time but Old Scratch whined and carried on and made such a ruckus from inside that pocket that Jack struck a deal with him.
"If you'll agree to not come back for my soul for 10 years, I'll let you out"
Well, reluctantly, the devil agreed and Jack took the coin out of his trouser pocket and flipped it into the air. The coin sprung to life, turning back into the Devil. Now you'd think that with such an experience that you'd mend your ways. You'd try to be a better person but being who he was and generally just being human, Jack continued being Jack.
Ten years to the day, Jack was walking home after being at the pub. The 'ol Devil appeared in his path. Jack wasn't surprised but was a little dismayed. He'd hoped the devil had forgotten but he DID strike a deal with him so he said,
"I'm ready to go with you, I am, but first, as my last request, may I have one of those apples from atop that apple tree. I'm so hungry"
The Devil thought this was a reasonable request and was frankly a little thrown at the lack of fighting and opposition on Jacks part. The devil climbed up the tree to get the apple. As soon as he was at the top, Jack took out his knife and cut a cross on the trunk of the tree.Now you and I know that the devil can never come across the sacred symbol of Christianity! Oh but he wailed and cried and carried on. Finally Jack was ready to strike a deal with him again. He said
"I'll get you down but you have to promise to never try and come for my soul again!"
The Devil baulked at this, he did not want to agree to it but he had no choice! Jack threw him up a rope. Satan tied it to a tree limb and Jack tied the other end to the base of a horse hitching post. Together they made a slide of sorts out of the side of the tree so the devil could get down.
Well, Jack went on living his life. Never amending his ways. One day, as all folks do, Jack died a natural death. Since the Devil could not claim his soul Jack went to the Pearly Gates. St. Peter said "Jack? What are you doing here? You were selfish, drunken and unrepentant your whole life, I cannot give you entry into the gates of Heaven!" "You will have to go... DOWNSTAIRS"In an instant, Jack found himself in Hell. The Devil said "Jack? What are you doing here? You know I cannot claim your soul!" Jack explained that he had no where else to go to which the devil replied "GO BACK WHERE YOU CAME FROM!" But the way back was dark and windy so as a final gesture a coal from the pits of Hell was thrown to light his path. Jack scooped up the coal and placed it in a hollowed out turnip he had been eating to keep it from burning his hand. Ever since Jack and his "lantern" has been traveling over the face of the earth looking for a place to rest. The Devil doesn't want any more dealings with that tricky old Jack so be sure to place a Jack-o-lantern on your stoop tonight!

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