The leg­end of Jack of the Lan­tern

Sherbrooke Record - - BROME COUNTY - By Louise Smith

Some say the leg­end started in Ire­land many years ago. A tale was told of “St­ingy Jack,” who hated to part with any of his money. He and the Devil were at a pub one night and he con­vinced the Devil to change into a coin to pay for their drinks. Once the Devil changed, St­ingy Jack put the coin in his pocket and left with­out pay­ing for the drinks. He had a sil­ver cross in the same pocket and that pre­vented the Devil from be­ing able to change back. Jack agreed to re­lease the Devil if he promised never to re­ceive him in Hell. The agree­ment was reached. Sev­eral years later, Jack died. The Devil was true to his word and would not ac­cept Jack into Hell, but God did not want him in Heaven either. Jack was forced to wan­der the world at night. He was given a sin­gle coal that con­tin­u­ally burned in a lan­tern. In Ire­land the prac­tice started of carv­ing scary faces in pota­toes to keep Jack away, but no lights were put in­side. Then in Scot­land a turnip was hol­lowed out and used as a lan­tern. Even­tu­ally the pump­kin was used to cre­ate a Jack of the Lan­tern to scare Jack away while the chil­dren were out trick or treat­ing.

I was an ex­change teacher one year in Scot­land. I tried to carve out a turnip, as it was quite dif­fi­cult to find a whole pump­kin in the town where I was teach­ing. It is not easy to do! I greatly ap­pre­ci­ate who­ever first started the use of pump­kins!

So Tues­day when the chil­dren are out, re­mem­ber the story of St­ingy Jack.

The scary faces are re­ally to scare Jack, and not the trick or treaters!

PHO­TOS COUR­TESY OF LOUISE SMITH

There’s a story be­hind the carv­ing of the pump­kin.

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