Thursday, October 21, 2010
The story of Jack...
Information compiled and written by Miles Martin
The legend of the jack o'lantern originated around a man nicknamed Stingy Jack. According to the story, Stingy Jack invited the devil to have a drink with him. When the time came to pay for the drinks, Stingy Jack decided he didn’t want to, so he convinced the devil to turn himself into a coin. The devil obliged, but instead of paying for the drinks Stingy Jack put the coin in his pocket next to a crucifix preventing the devil from returning to his original form. Jack eventually freed the devil under two conditions; he would not bother Jack for one year and that in the event of Jack’s death he would not claim his soul. The next year Jack again tricked the devil into climbing a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While the devil was in the tree, Jack carved a cross on the truck of the tree, trapping the devil until he promised not to bother him for ten years. Soon after, Jack died. God was unwilling to grant such a mischievous character access to Heaven. Keeping to his word the devil refused to claim Jack’s soul. So, the devil sent Jack wandering in the darkness with only a burning coal to light his way, which Jack placed inside a hollowed out turnip. The Irish referred to him as Jack of the lantern, then simply Jack o’lantern.