of Jack O'Lantern
Read-aloud Story from Catholic Update
the Irish say, grew up in a simple village where he earned a
reputation for cleverness as well as laziness. He applied his
fine intelligence to wiggling out of any work that was asked
of him, preferring to lie under a solitary oak endlessly whittling.
In order to earn money to spend at the local pub, he looked
for an "easy shilling" from gambling, a pastime at which he
excelled. In his whole life he never made a single enemy, never
made a single friend and never performed a selfless act for
Halloween, as it happened, the time came for him to die. When
the devil arrived to take his soul, Jack was lazily drinking
at the pub and asked permission to finish his ale. The devil
agreed, and Jack thought fast. "If you really have any power,"
he said slyly, "you could transform yourself into a shilling."
devil snorted at such child’s play and instantly changed himself
into a shilling. Jack grabbed the coin. He held it tight in
his hand, which bore a cross-shaped scar. The power of the cross
kept the devil imprisoned there, for everyone knows the devil
is powerless when faced with the cross. Jack would not let the
devil free until he granted him another year of life. Jack figured
that would be plenty of time to repent. The devil left Jack
at the pub.
year rolled around to the next Halloween, but Jack never got
around to repenting. Again the devil appeared to claim his soul,
and again Jack bargained, this time challenging him to a game
of dice, an offer Satan could never resist, but a game that
Jack excelled at. The devil threw snake eyes—two ones—and was
about to haul him off, but Jack used a pair of dice he himself
had whittled. When they landed as two threes, forming the T-shape
of a cross, once again the devil was powerless. Jack bargained
for more time to repent.
kept thinking he’d get around to repentance later, at the last
possible minute. But the agreed-upon day arrived and death took
him by surprise. The devil hadn’t showed up and Jack soon found
out why not. Before he knew it Jack was in front of the pearly
gates. St. Peter shook his head sadly and could not admit him,
because in his whole life Jack had never performed a single
selfless act. Then Jack presented himself before the gates of
hell, but the devil was still seething. Satan refused to have
anything to do with him.
can I go?" cried Jack. "How can I see in the darkness?"
devil tossed a burning coal into a hollow pumpkin and ordered
him to wander forever with only the pumpkin to light his path.
From that day to this he has been called "Jack o’ the Lantern."
Sometimes he appears on Halloween!