Celebrating Halloween -Stingy Jack Story
On cool fall evenings, eerie lights appear in the shapes of ghoulish faces on doorsteps all around the world. They emit a yellowish-orangish light through strange-shaped eyes, noses, and mouths. Once you see them start to appear, you know Halloween is very near.
Decorating ”jack o’lanterns” comes from an old Irish folktale about a mean old man called Stingy Jack. Back in Ireland, turnips and potatoes were used as the lanterns. When the Irish immigrated to America the pumpkin became the lantern. It then became a major part of Halloween.
The Story of Stingy Jack
Many centuries ago in the country of Ireland lived a mean old man called Stingy Jack. He liked to drink alcohol and stayed drunk a lot. All through Ireland, he was known as a liar and trickster.
One night the Devil heard all about Jack’s evil ways and how he could charm people and trick them. The Devil didn’t believe the rumors. But deep down he was really jealous of Jack too. So the Devil went to see if the rumors were correct or not for himself.
The Devil and Stingy Jack Meet
Well, Jack had been drinking and was roaming the countryside when he came upon a body on the cobblestone path. The body turned out to be the Devil! When Jack saw who it was, he knew he was done for. The Devil had come to collect his evil soul. Jack made one final request. He asked the Devil to let him drink his ale before he had to go to Hades.
The Devil didn’t see why not, so he took Jack to the local pub or bar. Jack drank several drinks and when he was finished he asked the Devil to pay for his drink. Jack convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin so he could pay for the drinks. The Devil was impressed by Jack’s evil scheme so he obliged. Jack was so mean and stingy that he stuck the coin (Devil) into his pocket. Jack also kept a cross in that pocket. This kept the Devil from turning back into his original shape. Jack got the Devil to agree to spare his soul for 10 years and Jack would set him free.
The Devil and Stingy Jack Meet Once Again
Ten years to the very day, Stingy Jack once again met the Devil. Jack realized it was his time to go to Hades for good this time. Just as the Devil was preparing to take him, Jack said he was starving and asked for an apple. The Devil agreed to get him one out of a nearby tree. He climbed up the tree to get Jack’s apple. While he was climbing up, mean old Jack put crosses all around the base of the tree.
The Devil was trapped and he was mad at Jack. He demanded that Jack release him! Jack agreed if the Devil promised to never take his soul into Hades. So the Devil agreed and Jack set him loose.Ten years to the very day, Stingy Jack once again met the Devil. Jack realized it was his time to go to Hades for good this time. Just as the Devil was preparing to take him, Jack said he was starving and asked for an apple. The Devil agreed to get him one out of a nearby tree. He climbed up the tree to get Jack’s apple. While he was climbing up, mean old Jack put crosses all around the base of the tree.
Looking For a Resting Place
Mean old Jack drank so much that it finally killed him. Jack was getting ready to go through the pearly gates of Heaven when he was stopped by Peter. Peter told Jack that because of his sinful way of living, his lying and cheating people and drinking, he could not enter the gates into Heaven.
Jack then went down to the gates of Hades. He begged to be allowed in. But the Devil kept his promise and did not allow him into Hades either. To warn others about Jack, the Devil gave him an ember from the fire. This let people know he was from Hades.
From that time on, Stingy Jack is doomed to wander throughout the world between the lands of good and evil. He is only allowed his ember from Hades that Jack carried inside a turnip that he had carved out to carry it. This turnip lantern was to light his way as he wandered. The Irish people began calling this ghostly figure Jack of the Lantern. Then they shortened it to Jack o’lantern.
So Jack o’lanterns are carved every October to keep Stingy Jack and the evil spirits away.
I hope you have enjoyed our Celebration of October and of Halloween!
the Holiday Mom