Stingy Jack
a Halloween legend

Every September the pumpkins show up in grocery stores ready for Halloween carving, a practice that has been around for hundreds of years. But what started the tradition?

According to an old legend, a man named Jack invited the devil to have a drink with him. When the time came to pay, Jack refused and instead convinced the devil to turn himself into a coin that they could use to pay for the drinks. Stingy as he was, Jack pocketed the coin; however, in his pocket was a silver cross which he knew would prevent the devil from turning back into his former state. Jack eventually let him go under the condition that the devil would not bother him for a year, and if Jack were to die, he wouldn’t take Jack to hell with him. About a year later, Jack tricked the devil again somehow into climbing up a tree. And while the devil was in the tree, Jack carved a cross into the bark of the tree so that the devil couldn’t come down until he promised to not bother Jack for 10 years. Shortly after, Jack died, but being the person he was, God didn’t want him in heaven. Because the devil had promised, he didn’t want Jack in hell either. The devil sent Jack out into the night with nothing but a burning coal. After that, Jack put the coal into a hollowed out turnip and wandered the earth. And that’s how the legend ends.

The Mainstream is a student publication of Umpqua Community College.