The legend of Jack of the Lantern
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!
There’s a story behind the carving of the pumpkin.