DSDU 2nd Anniversary Halloween Blog Hop

Hello, Pumpkins!

Welcome to my part of the DSDU 2nd anniversary Halloween blog hop. Today I have for you a story of deceit, drunkenness, debauchery and the devil getting the last laugh. Sound like last Saturday night?

Well it could be, but it isn’t. No, this story hails from several centuries ago and from a land far, far away, nowadays known as Ireland. The folklore revolves around a lech known to the locals back then as Stingy Jack. Yes indeed, by all reports Jack was a bit of a lad – and not in the nice sense of the word. He’d mastered all the mandatory criteria for being a right proper scumby.

Depending on which story you read, Jack apparently outwitted the Devil on one or two occasions. I think this highly unlikely for I doubt the Devil would be so easily deceived, being a Master of the art himself.

Image courtesy of Dani Jace WANA commons

Image courtesy of Dani Jace WANA commons

The first time, when the Devil came for his soul, Jack convinced the Devil to allow him one final drinking binge before departing for the nether regions. The Devil agreed. (Magnanimous of him, don’t you think – doesn’t really fit the profile) Anyway, Jack had his drinks in a bar and somehow tricked the Devil into turning into a coin to pay for the drinks. When the Devil did this, Jack grabbed him up and shoved him in a pocket which also held a crucifix. Now the crit partner in me is thinking, if he’s such a douche bag loser, why’s he got a crucifix in his pocket? This is one of those unforgivable coincidences that a writer shouldn’t get away with. (Also, why would the Devil care about paying for drinks – but that sort of thinking only gets me sidetracked.)

So back to the story, Jack coerces the trapped Devil into agreeing to let him live for another 10 years before reaping his soul. Oddly enough, the Devil not only agrees to this, he honours the bargain. Go figure.

Ten years on, the Devil has apparently developed early stage dementia, for he’s totally forgotten Jack’s previous deceit and once again falls pray to treachery involving apple trees and yet more crucifixes (you’d think the Devil could sense these a mile off). Caught between the original sin (quite poetic) and the sign of Christ, for his freedom the Devil agrees that he will never take Jack’s soul into hell.

So Jack eventually dies, his soul rocks up to heaven only to find St Peter at the Pearly Gates denying him entry. Jack’s hedonistic and unrepentant lifestyle had earned him a ‘do not pass the Pearly Gates, do not collect any money’ card. Problem was, during his last encounter with the Devil he’d also forfeited his ‘go straight to hell’ card. He gave it a shot though, but the Devil, ostensibly obeying the bind of the promise he made Jack, could not take his soul.

Destined to wander the darkness between Heaven and Hell, Jack whined about finding his way and the Devil flipped him the bird an ember from the fires of Hell to provide a light. I’m guessing the damned thing was too hot to handle (even for an incorporeal soul) and Jack stuck it in a hollowed out turnip (no not pumpkin – they came later) and used the ensemble as a lantern.

So now I’m left wondering if the Devil wasn’t simply amusing himself all along and set this up to play out as it did. My advice to this author is to give us a bit of the Devil’s POV when he first appears and we might find his actions believable.

It seems to me that Jack’s mother had not properly impressed upon him (or more likely alcohol had destroyed the memory) the rule ‘Don’t tick off the Devil’. Bit like making eye contact with a twenty foot statue of Anubis, but that’s another story…

Where’s the pumpkins? When the food-hollowing-at-Halloween craze hit America, they sensibly decided their native fruit/ vegetable (there’s a whole world of debate out there about which), the pumpkin, lent itself far more readily to carving. I can imagine WHS stepping in here. Can you imagine the number of nine fingered turnip carvers there must have been?

And for those of you gluten/grain intolerant, please check out my recipe page for a delicious pumpkin pie.

To go into the draw to win a copy of  Bob Mayer’s The Novel Writer’s Toolkit please leave a comment. 🙂

The Blog Hop Rules (sounds like a song)

  1. To be eligible to win a prize on the blogs, the reader must do what’s instructed on each blog by 11.59pm, 4th November, Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Time.
  2. To be eligible to win a grand prize of a $30 Amazon voucher, participants must comment on each participating blog. Only one comment needed. Multiple comments will be ignored for the purposes of the contest.
  3. Have fun!


Halloween Special – 2nd Blogiversary Participants

1. Eleni Konstantine
2. Mel Teshco
3. Nicole Murphy
4. Imogene Nix
5. Christina Phillips aka Christina Ashcroft
6. Amanda Ashby
7. Jenny Schwartz
8. Shona Husk
9. Maree Anderson
10. Kylie Griffin
11. Lilliana Rose
12. Nicole Hurley-Moore
13. Eden Summers
14. Erica Hayes
15. Sandra Harris
16. Keziah Hill
17. S E Gilchrist
18. DSDU


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31 Responses to “DSDU 2nd Anniversary Halloween Blog Hop”

  1. Jenny Schwartz Says:

    What a fun story! beautifully told 🙂

    I can’t even imagine trying to carve a turnip. I’d have to do it in Hospital Emergency so they could stitch my fingers back on immediately!

  2. sandra Says:

    Thanks, Jenny. 🙂 LOL, I know what you mean. You’d have to use a very small knife and a LOT of care!

  3. Christina Phillips Says:

    haha I love that story! And yes I’m inclined to agree the Devil knew exactly what he was doing all along 🙂

  4. sandra Says:

    Hi, Christina, thanks 🙂 Yeah, I think it’d take more than Jack’s slyness to get around the Devil.

  5. Eleni Konstantine Says:

    Great post Sandra. I didn’t realise that was behind the Jack-o-lantern story. Learn something new every day. 🙂

    Re pumpkin – you can do faces in them easily – scary ones tooo….

  6. sandra Says:

    Hi, Eleni, thanks. 🙂 I have enough trouble cutting pumpkins, let alone trying to be artistic with them!

  7. s e gilchrist Says:

    I love this story about Jack & your humorous cast to it. Great fun.

  8. sandra Says:

    Thanks, S.E, glad to have brought a smile to you. 🙂

  9. C.T. Green Says:

    Now you’ve got me itching to rewrite this one and make it more believable…Isn’t that the job of paranormal authors? Great post and I love these sort of explanations!

  10. sandra Says:

    LOL, thanks, C.T. You can take the writer out of paranormal, but you can’t take the paranormal out of the writer! 🙂

  11. Helene Says:

    Love the story, Sandy. I’d never heard it before either. And love your recipe 🙂

  12. sandra Says:

    Hi, Helene! Thank you. The girls in my writing group quite like the pumpkin pie recipe. They tend to be my guinea pigs – not that I’ve heard any complaints!

  13. Imogene Nix Says:

    Isn’t it interesting to learn where these traditions come from. Though, I rather think Jack was a very naughty boy 🙂 but to be stuck wandering the earth for eternity is a rather cruel and unusual punishment. 😀

    Happy Halloversary

  14. sandra Says:

    Hi, Imogene, yes Jack certainly had the tables turned on him. Happy Halloversary to you too!! 🙂

  15. Natasha Devereux Says:

    I’ve heard this one before Sandy, told in a drunken Irish brogue, by an old man who hailed from Galway – BUT – I must admit that I thoroughly enjoyed your telling of the tale. Looking at it from a writers POV is something I’ve not done before. I agree that the Devil was playing with our boy Jack. After all he IS a right devil LOL

  16. sandra Says:

    Hi, Natasha, that would have been wonderful to hear! LOL, you are so right. 🙂

  17. emmad Says:

    I’d never heard the story before. Always interesting to hear how customs started 🙂

  18. sandra Says:

    Hi, Enmad. Yes it is, even discovering how some words come into our vocabulary is interesting. Thanks for dropping by. 🙂

  19. Lilliana Rose Says:

    lol. I loved your critique of the story. I’m glad the change was made from a turnip to a pumpkin! Pumpkin’s are so much more appropriate lamp when trying to find your way between worlds.

    Yum, pumpkin pie, but my favourite food with pumpkin with Pumpkin Scones. Yuuuummmmie! I think I should go and buy myself a pumpkin, and cook up a batch:)

  20. sandra Says:

    Thanks, Lilliana. 🙂 LOL you are so right, a turnip just doesn’t cut the mustard when it comes to trans-dimentional darkness. Don’t forget to share when you’ve done that baking. 🙂

  21. wanda flanagan Says:

    Happy Halloween


  22. sandra Says:

    Thanks, Wanda and the same to you. 🙂

  23. Tracey D Says:

    What a great and fun story; I enjoyed reading it.

    Thanks for sharing it.

    Booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  24. sandra Says:

    Thanks, Tracey. 🙂 Now I have a moment to breathe I’m off over to Eleni’s to start my own blog hopping!

  25. Gabbie Says:

    I’ve never carved any vegetable up 🙁 I feel like I’m missing out. I’ve seen so many funky pumpkin designs this year! I think my mum has pumpkins growing so I might just steal one from her garden when she isn’t looking and give it a go 🙂

  26. sandra Says:

    Hi, Gabbie. The only vegetables I’ve carved are the ones that go into the pot – and they ain’t artistic. Sounds like a plan to infiltrate your mother’s garden, though I’d suggest you develop a strategic plan before that raid. 🙂

  27. sandra Says:

    And the winner of Bob Mayer’s ‘The Novel Writer’s Toolkit’ is:

    Wanda Flanagan. 🙂

  28. Suzanne Brandyn Says:

    You’ve dropped off the face of the planet. Where are you? I do hope all is well. 🙂

  29. sandra Says:

    Hi, Suzanne! Managing the STALI took up quite a lot of my time, pretty much from when it opened to mid-November. Also, I was lucky enough to have been offered two contracts for my romantic science fiction novel, ‘Alien, Mine’. I’ve been editing and having the contracts reviewed. I had to edit 13,000 words out of the ms in a week. I’ve decided which publisher I’m going to hitch my star to and am just waiting on them to return the signed contract. Then I’ll announced it on my blog. 🙂

  30. Eleni Konstantine Says:

    Woohoo, Sandy!!! Can’t wait to hear who is lucky enough to get your work.


  31. sandra Says:

    Thank you, Eleni, I appreciate your compliment. 🙂 Hopefully I’ll know by tomorrow.

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