Friday, October 28, 2011

Stingy Jack

Ever wonder why we carve Jack O'Lanterns on Halloween, or even where the name "Jack O'Lantern" comes from?

An old Irish legend tells of a worthless man named Stingy Jack, who was a mean old thief always up to no good.  One day Stingy Jack stole some items from the church and as the villagers were chasing him through the woods he stumbled across the Devil who told him it was time for him to die.  Stingy Jack told the Devil that he could capture many more souls if he would turn himself into a coin and then when the villagers found Jack, he would offer the coin in return for the items he had stolen.

The Devil agreed and turned himself into a coin and jumped into Jack's pocket.  However, one of the crosses that Jack had stolen was also in that pocket, so when the Devil jumped in he lost all of his powers.  Jack buttoned the pocket and told the Devil he would only let him out if he agreed never to take his soul.  The Devil agreed and Jack let him out.

Years later, when Stingy Jack died, he was not allowed into heaven because of the worthless life he had led, and because of his deal with the Devil, he was not allowed into hell, either.  Stingy Jack was forced to wander the earth at night and when he complained to the Devil that he could not see, the Devil threw him an ember from the fires of hell.  Stingy Jack took a turnip, carved it into a lantern and put the ember inside.

Now days we don't use turnips, and we don't carry our Jack O'Lanterns around to light our way, but we do use them to tell sort of a story, don't we?  To check out some true works of Jack O'Lantern art, visit Gypsy Mare Studios.

~Stingy J


TeresaA said...

cool! I did not know that!

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