On a chilly Hallowe’en day in Dublin, Ireland, a mother puts here young boy to bed. “Mommy, can you please tell me the tale of Old Stingy Jack?” asked little Quinn. “Oh, I suppose that’ll be alright,” his loving mother replied. She clears her throat as she recalls the beginning of the story.
“One day long, long ago; lived a man named Jack, Old Stingy Jack. He was a mean, lying, cheating man. Jack is smart and knows very well that he’s been bad and his time is almost up. He invited the Devil out for a drink. At the end of the evening, they’re both a wee bit tanked. Jack needs money to pay for the drinks they had so foolishly guzzled down. He asked the Devil to turn himself into a coin. He did just that. Except Jack took the coin shaped Devil and put him in the pocket of his nickers. In that very pocket was a small crucifix. This crucifix kept the Devil from scurrying on out. The Devil wasn’t too happy about that. Jack had promised to let him go only as long as he leaves him alone for one whole year. The Devil left, not to be seen by Jack for another year. “
His mother takes a sip of water and clears her throat again. “The Devil came back exactly one year later. He told Jack about his year being done.
Jack interrupts him ‘I’m quite hungry, would you like a snack?’
‘Yes, I would love a snack.’ The Devil replies quickly.
‘Look! Up in that tree are some lovely apples!’ Jack yelps excitedly. ‘I’ll keep watch while you go and grab a few.’
‘WAIT A SECOND! Why me? Why can’t you climb the tree?’ hollers the Devil.
‘I…I’ve got a bad back and I hurt my leg the other day and…and, well, go on.’ Stutters Jack as he tries to find the right words to make his lie more believable.
As the Devil climbs the creaky old tree, Jack quickly carves a crucifix into the bark in the base of the tree. The Devil is stuck in the tree.
‘I promise to let you down, as long as you promise to leave me alone for a decade.’ Jack hollers up to the, now, red faced Devil, ‘PROMISE!’
‘I promise…’ the Devil says gently to Jack.
He lets the Devil out of the tree. The Devil does back to Hell. Jack dies before his ten years are up. It has been about four years now. The Devil Goes back and visits Jack once more.
‘God won’t let a scrounge like you into Heaven, you lie and steal too much.’ The Devil explains carefully, ‘And I won’t let you into Hell because you’ve embarrassed me. How are people supposed to think about me then? The Devil is supposed to be rather witty, not easily fooled by a peasant farmer.’
Jack is left to wander around for all eternity. The Devil gives Jack a hot, burning ember straight form the deepest part of Hell. Jack put the bright ember into a carved turnip in order to find a final resting place. Jack is still searching.”
“Okay, off to bed with ya!” she says as she tucks him tightly into his bed.
She kisses his forehead and closes the door as she leaves. The boy closes his eyes. He hears a strange moaning noise. He opens his eyes to see a slender torso, legs, arms, and lanky fingers standing at the end of his bead. This skeleton-like figure holds a creepy grin on his face and stares at the boy with his black, hollowed out eyes. After a couple minutes the strange creature goes away. The boy can’t fall asleep that night.
The next morning little Quinn keeps catching quick glances of Stingy Jack. Every time he turns his head, he sees the large grin and hollowed eyes. Jack gets closer each time. Eventually, Jack gets really close then disappears. Quinn wonders where Jack has gone. He goes home after school. His mother sees him. She looks very frightened.
“Ay, your face!” She screeches.
The boy runs to the bathroom and looks into the mirror. His face was grey. His eyes were hollowed. His mouth was a very large grin. Jack’s spirit was inside of him.