Jack O’Lantern and the Devil

Friends, here’s another story on our blog, which will help you improve your English. All Hallows’ Day is approaching, and we will tell you where the idea to carve a scary face in a pumpkin and celebrate the earthly walk of the spirits came from. By reading our texts translated in English you will be able to get better at the language itself! Very soon, from beginners, you will move to the advanced group and expand your vocabulary. So the story goes…

The legend of Stingy Jack first appeared in Ireland. Jack appreciated the fine alcohol and once invited the Devil himself for a drink. True to his nickname though, Jack didn’t even want to pay for his own drink, and he must have been sweet-talking because somehow managed to convince the Devil to turn himself into a coin and to be handed to the innkeeper for the drinks. As soon as the Devil fulfilled his wish, Jack stopped drinking, and dropped the Devil-coin into his pocket, where he had a hidden silver cross. Because of that silver cross, the Devil could not restore his original form. In the negotiations that followed, Jack struck a deal which stated that the Horned one would leave him alone for the following year and when he eventually dies, not to take his soul.

Stingy Jack lived carefree for a year, but eventually the Devil appeared. The cunning Jack tricked him again – he made the Devil climb a tree to pick a fruit and while he was up there, Jack carved a cross into the bark of the tree. This way, the Devil could not come down and, willing or not, he had to participate in new negotiations namely to leave Jack alone for the next ten years.

Soon, however, Jack died. God refused to allow such an obnoxious person into Heaven. The Devil, on the other hand, true to his promise, couldn’t take Jack to Hell. He sent Jack off to wander the Earth, giving him only a smoldering coal to light his way. So he doesn’t burn himself, Jack hollowed out a turnip he found and put the coal in it. Since then, he has been wandering around with his strange, flickering lantern to the horror of all Christians. The Irish called him Jack of the Lantern or simply Jack O’Lantern.

Over time, a tradition was established among the Irish and Scots to carve scary faces in turnips or potatoes and leave them on windows and doors to prevent Stingy Jack or other evil spirits from entering their houses. The custom was also adopted by the English, who started using beetroots for the purpose. This tradition also reached the new lands of North America, where pumpkins turned out to be extremely suitable for carving.

So, my friends, the lantern of the cursed Jack became a symbol of the holiday of All Saints’ Day or Halloween – a date that unites pagan and Christian traditions, when spirits visit the earth, and anything can befall us.

Be persistent, friends! Read, learn, and don’t forget to switch to the Bulgarian version of this text via the button at the top of the page, hence you will be able to enjoy the translation of this enlightening story. See you soon!


Author: Iveta Radeva

Training Centre Raya London is a new and fastly developing English Language School specialized in teaching English as a second language. Founded in 2015 we are small enough to provide a personal service, but large enough to have very good facilities and resources for the students to learn English in UK.