The Paw Print

The Legend of Stingy Jack

Adriana Urena

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Legend has it that in Ireland during the 1500’s there lived a blacksmith named Jack. One night Jack called upon the devil to have a drink with him, but things didn’t go as planned. Jack didn’t see it necessary to pay and asked the devil to turn himself into a coin to pay for their drinks, the devil then transformed. The devil not knowing that Jack wasn’t going to pay, put the coin(devil) in his pocket, with a silver cross which didn’t allow the devil to transform back and escape. Therefore, Jack made a deal with the devil, he said in order to let the devil go the devil can’t take his soul within the year, the devil agreed. Jack released him and the devil transformed and left.

When it was time for the devil to re-visit Jack he fell into another trick, that trickster Jack. Jack asked the devil if he can pick a fruit from the top of the tree, and the devil willingly did so, but, Jack being the trickster, he carved a cross on the tree. Therefore, leaving the devil stuck on the tree, not obtaining the ability to climb down. Then Jack made another deal with the devil, and they agreed, the devil could not take Jack’s soul for an addition of ten years.

Jack eventually died, but Jack being the stingy man, was not allowed in Heaven. It was time for Jack to be tricked, the devil kept his word and didn’t allow Jack’s soul to enter Hell. The devil gave Jack a burning coal and sent Jack’s soul back to his land to find his own Hell. Jack went on searching and put his burning coal in a “carved- out” turnip.

The legend still continues to this day, people claim on seeing a light in the mist meaning it’s Stingy Jack roaming the land. This is also how pumpkin carving began. The Irish began carving out potatoes, beets, and turnips and put a burning coal inside to forbid Jack from entering their homes, then was later americanized into a pumpkin. In the 1800’s the kids carved terrifying faces as a prank to resemble disembodied heads which then the name Jack of the Lantern changed to Jack-O-Lantern. Later in the 1900’s it then became a decoration for halloween instead of the legend of Stingy Jack.

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The Legend of Stingy Jack