The Devil and Tom Walker

The Devil and Tom Walker

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  • The Devil and Tom Walker by Washington Irving Veronica Benbow
  • Tom Walker lives with his wife in a dilapidated house far from society. He and his wife are equally miserable and selfish.  
  • One day on his way home Tom strays off path and finds himself in a thick, ominous swamp littered with trees. There he meets the Devil who presides over the swamp. Old Scratch informs Tom of the riches buried by Kidd the pirate, and how the only way to recover them is to strike up a deal. The deal the Devil proposes-Tom's soul in exchange for Kidd's treasure.  
  • I am known by many names, including the Wild Huntsman, the Black Miner, and the Black Woodsman. You may refer to me as Old Scratch.
  • Tom then heads home to tell his wife about the Devil's proposition. She urges Tom to accept the deal, but the more she insists the less inclined he feels to oblige. Not being able to convince Tom, his wife takes matter into her own hands. She takes the couples' valuables and sets out to attempt to make her own deal with the Devil. Her remains are later found hung from a tree. We can infer that she would not relent in her pursuit of making her own deal, so she was killed. 
  • Tom decides to accept the Devil's deal and becomes an usurer in Boston. He continues to be stingy, cheating people out of their money. Despite becoming rich he begins to get nervous about the Devil coming to collect his soul. Tom attempts to repent for his misdeeds by carrying around a bible, attending church, and loudly praying. 
  • Despite Tom's efforts, Old Scratch still comes to collect his soul. He is whisked away on a horse, never to be seen alive again. 
  • After Tom is taken away trustees are appointed to take care of his finances and possessions. But, there is nothing to be found. I think this represents how no matter what you have in life if it was acquired immorally it means nothing after you die. To this day, Tom's ghost haunts over the swamp where he first encountered the Devil. 
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