Elizabeth Hilton, Harmony Hall, Cock-pit country.
Jack was a great gambler,--no one could ever beat him a game; and he went and gambled with the Devil Errant. Jack won the first, second and third games; the Devil Errant won the fourth and the fifth games, The Devil Errant said to Jack, "I require nothing of you but to find me in three months." No man knew where the Devil Errant lived, and if Jack doesn't find him in three months, the Devil Errant will take his head. And the Devil Errant knew where Jack lived.
Jack was fretting and didn't know what 'to do. He asked every one of his friends and they said they didn't know the Devil Errant and didn't know where he lived. He went to the keeper of the world and asked him where the Devil Errant lived. He said, "How could you play cards with a man like that! However, I am
keeper of all the beasts. In the morning I will ring the bell and all will come and I will ask them if they know the Devil Errant." In the morning he rang the bell and all the beasts came. Everyone said he didn't know the Devil Errant. So he said, "I don't know what to do, Jack; but I have a brother who lives three hundred miles from here, and I will roll a barrel and you must go after the barrel; where the barrel stops, that will be where my brother lives."
In the morning, he rolled the barrel and Jack followed the barrel, and it stopped in the brother's yard and Jack stopped too. And he asked the brother if he knew the Devil Errant and he said no, didn't know a man like that. And he said, "Well, I am the keeper of all the fish in the sea. In the morning I will ring the bell and all the fish can come und I will ask them if they know the Devil Errant." In the morning, he rang the bell and all the fish came and they said they didn't know a man like the Devil Errant.
Jack was fretting, for it only needed three days and the three month would be gone, The brother said, "Well, I don't know what to do, but I have another brother who lives two hundred miles from here. Tomorrow I will toll the barrel and where that barrel stops that will be the place. In the morning, he rolled the barrel and Jack followed after the barrel, and when he got to the other brother the brother said, "Well, I don't know such a man by the name of the Devil Errant, but I am the keeper of all the birds in the year, and in the morning I will ring the bell and they will come and I will ask them if they know the Devil Errant." In the morning, he rang the bell and all the birds came exept one named the Quack, and everyone said he didn't know the Devil Errant. Little after, the Quack came up. The keeper asked him why he didn't come all this time and he said, "I was just at the Devil Errant's yard picking up a few grains of corn." The keeper said to Jack, "This is the only one who can take you to the Devil Errant's yard."
Jack had to kill a cow now and cut it up in pieces and put it on the bird's back along with himself, and every time the bird said "Quack," give him a piece of meat. The Quack was a greedy bird; said "Quack" and gave him a piece, "Quack" and gave him a piece, "Quack" and gave him a piece, "Quack" and gave him a piece, till he gave him the whole cow, didn't have any more to give him. The bird said "Quack" and he gave him his hat, "Quack" and he gave him his boots, "Quack" and didn't have anything more to give him, and the bird dropped him at the river-side.
As Jack was there crying he saw an old man come. The man
said, "Jack, what you doing here?" Jack said, "I was gambling with the Devil Errant and he won me the fourth and fifth times and he said I was to find him in three months, and the three months are up to-day." The man said, "Well, I advise you to stay here for a few minutes and you will see the Devil Errant's two daughters come to bathe. You must not trouble those two, but when you see the third one come, when she goes to bathe take her clothes and hide them, and when she comes out to look for the clothing say to her, 'Your father played me a trick and I will play you one too!'"
Jack did so. When the girl looked for her clothes, Jack said, "Your father played me a trick and I will play you one too." And the girl fell in love with Jack and told him all her father's secrets and said, "Now, Jack, when you go to my father's gate, if he tells you to come in you mustn't go in at the gate; for there will be a sword ready to cut off your head. Let him come and open the gate for you." So when Jack went to the Devil Errant's yard, the Devil Errant said, "You are very clever indeed, Jack! Open the gate and come in." Jack said, "No, you come and open it." The Devil came and opened the gate.
The Devil said, "As you are so clever to find me in three months. I will give you another task to do." He dropped his gold ring into an empty well and said, "Go and pick it up." When Jack went, the well was full of water. Poor Jack was hungry and crying. He saw the girl coming with his breakfast and a bag with a machete in it. And she said, "Why are you crying, Jack?" He said, "Because your father has given me a task I can't do." She said, "What is it?" He said, "He dropped his ring into the well when it was empty, and when I went to pick it up, it was full of water." She said, "Well, what you must do is to take this machete now and cut me up in pieces and I will be a ladder, and when you are coming back, you must take up every piece and put it into this bag and I will become the same woman. Jack said he couldn't do it at all, but she forced him to and so he did it, He chopped her up and put her down and she became a ladder, and every time in coming up he took up a piece until he had taken up the whole, only one little piece he forgot, till at last she became the same woman, only she had lost one of her finger-joints; but she said, "Never mind for that, Jack!"
Jack took the ring to the Devil Errant and he said, "Since you are so clever, I will give you another task; take this house, now, and shingle it with dove feather." Jack was crying and he saw
the girl coming with a barrel of corn. She said, "Now, Jack, dash this corn about the house and every bird will come to feed; and pick the feathers and shingle it with dove feathers." And so Jack did.
And the Devil said, "You are so clever I will give you another task to do, and when you have done that I will set you free." And he gave him a bit and said, "Go and catch my horse in the pasture." When Jack went to the pasture he saw it was a mountain of sea. Jack was crying and he saw the girl coming with a gun and a stone. She said, "Don't cry, Jack! take the bridle and stone, fire the gun and dash into the sea. The horse will come and put his head into the bit, as my grandfather was buried here."
When Jack carried the horse to the Devil Errant, the Devil Errant said, "You are very clever indeed. I will give you one of my daughters to marry." He had the three girls dress alike and gave a grand dance and said when they were dancing he must pick out the one that he loved the best. The girl told him that she would wear a different branch and told him what branch she would wear, so he picked out the youngest daughter. The Devil Errant said he couldn't give him that one at all because she was too young, but Jack said she was the only one he loved, and the Devil Errant couldn't break his promise and had to give her to him, and they got the parson to come and marry them.
That night the wife said, "Well, Jack, father is going to kill you tonight." When they went to bed, the wife made two wooden babies that would cry and put them in the bed; and they went into the pasture and got the best riding horses her father had and started for home. The devil got a pot of boiling water and threw it trough the chimmey into the room on the bed. When he heard the babies cry, he went to cut their throats and he found the two wooden babies. So he went after them. The horse's name was "Supple Jack." The girl said to Jack, "Look, look behind you and see what you see!" Jack said, "Your father is at the horse's tail!" She said, "Take this grain of corn and throw it and it will turn a wood of trees that he can't pass." The Devil went back for his axe, and felled the wood, She said, "Look, look behind you, Jack, and see what you see!" He said, "Your father is at the horses tail!" She said, "Take this sweat and droop it behind you and it will mount to a great river he can't cross." The devil went back for his ladle and ladled the water till he drowned; he couldn't go any further!
The girl said to Jack, "As you have been away so long, don't take me with you; leave me at the lodgings and come back tomorrow
for me. But you must not kiss anyone; if you kiss anyone, you will forget me and never remember me any more." So Jack went home. His mother and sisters and everybody came to kiss him, but he refused to kiss them. He lay on the sofa sleeping and a pet dog came and kissed him, and Jack never remembered his wife any more for four years. Then they made a great entertainment. Jack was just about to marry the next day to another woman, and he and his bride went to the entertainment. The first wife sat down at the window sad. They asked her to go with them to the entertainment. She said no, she was not going, but they forced her to go with them. As everybody was enjoying himself, they asked her to entertain them. She knocked her left side; a rooster came out. She knocked her right side; a hen came out. She knocked her stomach; a grain of corn came out. The rooster took it away from the hen. The hen said, "Get away, you ungrateful rooster! You came into my father's yard, he gave you a task to do and you couldn't do it. He dropped his gold ring into the well and you couldn't take it out, had to mince me in pieces, and now I have lost one of my little finger joints!" She knocked again and another grain of coin came out. The rooster took it away from the hen. The hen said, "Stop, you ungrateful rooster! You came to my father's yard, he gave you a task to shingle a house with dove feathers and you couldn't do it; I had to do it for you"
Jack said, "I remember something!"
She knocked on her stomach again and another grain of corn came out. The rooster ate it up. She said, "Get away, you ungrateful rooster you! You came to my father's yard. He gave you his bridle to go and catch his horse and you couldn't catch it and I had to show you how to do it!"
Jack said, "I just remember my fault!" Jack fell down at her feet and begged her to forgive him. He said to the company that a man had lost a key and was about to buy a new one when he found the old one just as good, and everybody told him there was now no occasion to buy the new one. Jack said, "Well, this is my wife that I forgot for four years, and I have found her!" He put her in his buggy and drove home and left the other one in the same place. And they both lived happy forever.