Autumn XXXI

"Wild, ugly faces we carved in its skin,
Glaring out through the dark with a candle within!"

John Greenleaf Whittier 

Today's image is a photograph I took a couple of years back - it's a turnip I'd carved for Halloween. When I was a child my parents would carve turnips instead of pumpkins - it's an old Irish tradition. The story of how carved turnips came to be used as lanterns varies throughout Europe. According to a spooky old Irish tale, a measly farmer called Stingy Jack tricked the Devil into climbing a tree. Once the Devil was high up in the moonlit branches, Stingy Jack carved a cross into the bark so he couldn’t get down again. Jack only agreed to let the Devil down when he promised never to take the farmer’s soul.

When Stingy Jack eventually died, he was too sinful to pass through Heaven’s gates, and as the Devil had promised never to take his soul, he was damned to always wander the earth in search of a resting place. He carved out a turnip, and inside placed a glowing ember the Devil gave him to light his lonely way. He became known as "Jack of the Lantern." 

Happy Halloween, y'all!

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