Jack was a famous liar and thief. On one moonless night centuries ago he was caught stealing jugs of wine from the local pub and the villagers chased him deep into the woods. Jack was nimble, and just when he thought he had outrun them all, he ran straight into a strange dark creature, part man, part beast. Jack recognized him as the Devil himself.
“I’ve come for your soul,” the Devil whispered. But Jack had another plan. Knowing that the Devil loves a game, he said, “I have a wicked trick for you to play that you will like very much. Turn yourself into a piece of gold. And then I’ll give it to the villagers for payment for the wine I stole. Once I’m away, you can make the gold piece disappear, and the villagers will argue and accuse each other of stealing it, starting grudges that will eventually turn into wars.”
The Devil grinned, and instantly became a nugget of pure gold in the palm of Jack’s hand. Jack then slipped the gold piece into his purse, right next to a stolen crucifix, and sealed up the pouch. He knew the cross would render the Devil powerless.
“Now let’s make a deal,” Jack laughed. “If I let you go, you promise to never take my soul.” Jack heard a voice through the trees, “You’ve outwitted the Devil himself, my friend. And for that you may keep your wretched soul for eternity.”
Jack unfastened his purse and pitched the gold piece deep into the night.
But unfortunately, the villagers saw his movement, surrounded him, and strung him up on an old dead oak tree.
When Jack’s ghost came to the gates of Heaven, he found he was barred from that place because of all his wicked deeds. And when his spirit went to the doors of Hades, he found that the Devil kept his promise, and he was banned from Hell.
“Where can I rest?” Jack cried out.
“Poor Jack,” the Devil gibed. “I will turn your spirit into a small burning ember, and wherever there is a carved out gourd, you may rest there until it rots.
And then you must find another. And this will be your lot for eternity. And children will mock your terrible plight by carving hideous faces into the gourds, lighting up the night with your monstrous expressions forever.”
Jack accepted his sentence with surprisingly good humor, for he knew this would not be the end of his tricks and thievery. For wherever there is a lighted Jack O’Lantern, there are young innocent children to hear his whispers and carry out his devilish deeds.
released March 1, 2010
Brian King: voice, wurly, sandpaper, drums, keys, clatter.
Nathan Cohen: violin, chatter
Craig Rich: percussion, chatter