Who is the "Jack" in "Jack-O-Lantern"?

HE'S an ancient blacksmith who made a deal with the devil, trading his soul for seven years of prosperity. But he also got three wishes from Jesus and St. Peter: Anyone who;

climbed his pear tree,
sat in his armchair,
or climbed into his purse,

must remain there until Jack let them go.

WHEN the devil came for Jack's soul, Jack tricked him into climbing the pear tree. The devil gave Jack seven more years of prosperity in exchange for his freedom. When he returned, Jack trapped him in his armchair. When the devil came back seven year later, hoping to sneak up on Jack disguised as an insect, Jack locked him in his purse.

WHEN Jack finally went to the underworld, the devil told him that he didn't want him around and he should go to St. Peter! As he left, Jack grabbed a burning coal and placed it in the pumpkin he was eating, using it as a lantern to light his way to heaven. The demons who saw it knew to steer well away from clever Jack...and to this very day, we use Jack-o-Lanterns to frighten away evil spirits.


Copyright © 2001 Jim Wilson

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