20th November

Jack and the Devil

The Devil wanted to lead Jack astray so he turned himself into a beautiful woman who asked Jack to escort her to a casino in the nearest town.

‘It’ll be a pleasure,’ says Jack, noting the hairy toes sticking out of her glittery high-heeled shoes.

Jack had only enough money to buy a single chip. The Devil gave him another to keep it company, and showed him to the roulette table.

‘Put them both on a single number, Jack, and let’s see if we can make your fortune,’ the Devil whispered in his lug.

‘Naw, naw,’ says Jack, and he puts one chip on red and the other on black. When the ball stops spinning he finds he’s lost on the red but won on the black.

‘Still in the game,’ he says. ‘I’ll dae the same again.’

For twenty minutes Jack didn’t tire of winning and losing every time, but both the croupier and the Devil were becoming impatient.

‘Here’s another chip, Jack. Live a little,’ the Devil said huskily, leaning forward to give him a wee glimpse of what that might entail. ‘Why not put it on a single number?’

‘Naw, we’ll pit it on red, tae match your frock,’ says Jack.

When red comes up, Jack turns and says, ‘Ye see? I hae a system gaun here.’

‘Leave all your chips on red and you’ll double them again,’ the Devil urged.

‘Och, I’ll just pit twa o them on black,’ says Jack.

This time black comes up.

‘Richt again,’ he says, ‘and aye the fower chips. Whit luck I’m haein the nicht!’

After another hour Jack was back down to two chips but still enjoying himself. The croupier threw Jack off the table, so he took his chips and handed one back to the Devil.

‘Weel,’ he said, ‘I think ye’ll agree that was a grand spree and it cost heehaw.’

At this the Devil lost his temper and cast off his disguise. ‘This is hopeless,’ he said. ‘I’m supposed to be tempting you but you’re beyond temptation.’

‘Och, it’s yersel!’ says Jack. ‘I thocht ye was a lassie. Temptin me, were ye? And there was me thinkin I was temptin you!’

Reader: James Robertson
Fiddle: Aidan O'Rourke
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