Boston / Cambridge: Houghton Mifflin Company / The Riverside Press, 1951. Joshua Tolford. 1st edition. Cloth. 1st edition. A Very Good copy in Good dust jacket. Square 8vo., 39 pp., illustrated with color and b&w drawings; illustrated end papers. Yellow cloth with red lettering and design in color illustrated dust jacket. The dust jacket has moderate edge wear and a few closed tears; the dj's front flap is missing. Light soiling to the yellow cloth. The dj is now protected in a mylar sleeve. Scarce in the jacket. Good / Good. Item #25021
There are several versions of the folktale. The Irish folktale version is called “The Legend of Stingy Jack” or sometimes known as “Jack’s Lantern” or “Jack of the Lantern.” It’s a story about a greedy alcoholic blacksmith, a turnip and the Devil.
Jack tricks the devil several times from getting his soul only to learn that upon his death, heaven doesn’t want him nor do the realms of hell. So Jack is doomed to walk the face of the earth for all eternity carrying with him a lantern made from a turnip and coal plucked from the fires of hell to light the way. Thus, the story of how the jack-o’-lantern was born.
This Southern Appalachian version of “Wicked John and the Devil” is a variation of the folktale of “Jack’s Lantern.” The version of this folktale is about a blacksmith named John, Saint Peter, and the Devil. In this tale, Wicked John uses three wishes bestowed on him by St. Peter to bargain with the devil who comes to take Wicked John’s soul. The tale is also known in European versions as “The Smith and the Devil.” According to folklorist and anthropologist, it may be one of the oldest folk tales dating back more than 6,000 years ago during the Bronze Age.