* Irene's Country Corner * - Jack O' Lantern
The legend of Jack o'Lantern
A stingy drunkard
of an Irish blacksmith named Jack was a very unpleasant fellow. One evening of October
31st, Jack found himself in a local tavern. The Devil approached and asked
Jack for his soul. Jack
was not ready to leave this life yet, so he managed to trick the Devil and
pleaded with him
to have one more drink. The Devil agreed and as Jack didn't have
any money left to pay the bartender, he convinced the Devil to
change into a sixpence so he could pay for the drink and then
the Devil could change back. As soon as the Devil turned into
the coin, Jack pocketed
him into his wallet.
Jack had a silver cross inside it, the Devil could not change
himself back and was trapped inside it. The Devil was furious and demanded to be
set free. Jack agreed to let him out only if the Devil promised not
to claim his soul for ten years.
years later Jack came across the Devil again while walking on
a dark country road, but once
again, Jack was not ready to go. He convinced the Devil to get
him an apple from a tree as a last meal. The Devil thought he had nothing
to lose, so he jumped on Jack's shoulders to get the apple. Jack immediately pulled out his
knife and carved
a cross in the trunk of the tree trapping the Devil once more.
made him promise never
to seek for his soul again. As
the devil had no way out, he agreed. No one knows how the Devil managed
to get out of the tree.
Jack finally died some months later, he was not admitted to Heaven,
because of his life of drinking. Then,
Jack tried to get into Hell, but the Devil also turned him away. Jack asked
the Devil where should he go and the Devil said: "Back to
where you came from!". The way back was windy and dark and
Jack pleaded with the Devil to at least provide him a light.
The Devil threw him a live coal straight from the fire of Hell, which Jack placed into the
turnip he had been eating in order to to keep it from blowing out in
the wind. That is how Jack
became known as Jack of the Lantern.
Ever since, Jack
has been doomed to wander in darkness with his lantern until
"Judgment Day." Jack of the Lantern (Jack o'Lantern)
became known as a symbol of a damned soul.
On Halloween, the Irish would
carve out turnips and potatoes, placing a light inside to light
the way. As in America turnips were hard to find and pumpkins
were in abundance they became the new Jack-o-Lantern.
been associated with Halloween since the mid-eighteen hundreds.
The tradition of carving a pumpkin and placing a candle inside
it has its origins in Ireland.
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