Halloween traditional jack-o-lantern and fall leaves. Halloween symbol smiling pumpkin background.

The legend of Stingy Jack and the Jack O’ Lanterns

The story of how the jack o’ lantern got it start is a little frightening. But our accompanying recipe for pumpkin spice cake will make it more palatable!

Stingy Jack and the Jack o’ Lanterns 

   By D’Ann Dreiling 

   According to an old Irish legend, Stingy Jack was a no account drunk who invited the devil to have a drink with him.  Jack had no money to pay for the drink so he convinced the devil to turn himself into a coin. Instead of paying the bartender with the coin, Jack slipped the coin into his pocket where he also kept a silver cross.  The devil was trapped. Jack agreed to remove the cross and free the devil if the devil would not bother him or claim his soul for one year. The devil agreed.

Image result for stingy jack jack o lantern

A year later, Jack again met up with the devil.  This time Jack talked the devil into climbing up a fruit tree to retrieve some fruit for them to eat.  The devil climbed up the tree and Jack quickly carved a cross in the tree’s bark. Again, the devil was trapped. He could not come down the tree unless he agreed not to bother Jack for ten years, and if he died, the devil would not claim his soul.  Soon after, Jack died.  

St. Peter would not allow such an unsavory man into heaven, and because of his deal with the devil, Jack was not allowed into hell. He was fated to wander endlessly in the darkness but the devil threw him a burning ember from hell.  Jack found a turnip, carved out the center and inserted the burning ember to lighten his path as he roamed the earth.  

The Irish referred to this ghostly figure as Jack of the Lantern and, on Halloween, they carved scary faces into turnips and potatoes and placed them on their doorsteps to scare away any evil spirits.  

The Irish immigrants brought this custom to America, and discovered that pumpkins, a Native American fruit, were much easier to carve than turnips or potatoes.

Here’s the dish…..

Pumpkin Cake

  • 1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin (unsweetened)1 can (12oz.) evaporated milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/4  cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 pkg. yellow cake mix
  • 3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

In large bowl mix the first five ingredients.

Pour into a greased 9/13 baking dish. In second bowl, mix (with hands) cake mix, melted butter and pecans until crumbly.

Sprinkle crumb mixture evenly over pumpkin mixture.

Bake at 350* for about one hour or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Top each serving with whipped cream or Cool Whip.

1 thought on “The legend of Stingy Jack and the Jack O’ Lanterns

Leave a Reply