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Encyclopedia > The Devil and Tom Walker

"The Devil and Tom Walker" is a short story by Washington Irving that first appeared in his 1824 collection of stories and sketches Tales of a Traveller. It was part of the "Money-Diggers" portion. The story is about a man who sells his soul to the devil in order to obtain wealth. He later regrets this decision when he has to suffer the consequences. Both the trade with the devil and the regret suffered by Tom Walker afterward cause this story to be compared to Johann Wolfgang Goethe's drama Faust, which was written in Germany a few decades previously. Washington Irving (April 3, 1783 – November 28, 1859) was an American author of the early 19th century. ... Johann Wolfgang Goethe  , IPA: , later von Goethe, (28 August 1749 – 22 March 1832) was a German polymath: he was a poet, novelist, dramatist, humanist, scientist, theorist, painter, and for ten years chief minister of state for the duchy of Weimar. ... Front cover of Faust, Leipzig 1832 Johann Wolfgang von Goethes Faust is a tragic play and the best known version of the Faust story. ...

This story had much influence on Stephen Vincent Benét's short story The Devil and Daniel Webster. Stephen Vincent Benét (July 22, 1898 – March 13, 1943) was a United States author, poet, short story writer and novelist. ... For other uses, see The Devil and Daniel Webster (disambiguation). ...

Plot summary

Illustration by Charles Deas (1818–1867

Tom Walker is a miser who worships money more than he does his miserly wife. Tom Walker was a greedy and selfish man. This is until he takes a walk in the swamp and starts up a conversation with the Devil incarnate (referred to as "Old Scratch" in the story.) Old Scratch strikes up a deal with Tom Walker: he offers the riches hidden in the swamp by Captain Kidd in exchange for Tom's employment under Old Scratch. Tom agrees to think about it, and returns home. Burdened with this secret, he mentions it to his greedy wife. When he is not there, Tom's wife takes all the valuables in the house and goes to make a deal with Old Scratch. When Tom goes in search of his wife, all he can find of her is her heart and liver in her apron tied to a tree. This conveyed two beliefs common among Irving's contemporaries: that the Devil finds you, rather than the other way around, and that women were held in contempt by the Devil. Tom Walker then agrees to the deal with Old Scratch (his wife was abusive towards him and he considered her death at the hand of Old Scratch a good thing). Tom agrees to become a loan shark. Tom constantly swindles people out of money, until he suddenly becomes fearful for the after-life. He then starts to become fiercely dedicated to God, always keeping a Bible at hand. When, one day, a person who had borrowed money from him and is asking for clemency blames Tom for taking his money, Tom says, "The Devil take me if I have made but a farthing!" At this time, there are three loud knocks at the door. Tom is drawn towards the black cloaked figure and realizes, in horror, that he has left his Bible at his desk. Tom Walker is then taken away by the Devil on the back of a black horse and is never seen again. All his assets vanished and his house burned to the ground. Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 527 pixelsFull resolution‎ (1,370 × 902 pixels, file size: 845 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Faithful reproductions of two-dimensional original works cannot attract copyright in the U.S. according to the rule in Bridgeman Art Library v. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 527 pixelsFull resolution‎ (1,370 × 902 pixels, file size: 845 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Faithful reproductions of two-dimensional original works cannot attract copyright in the U.S. according to the rule in Bridgeman Art Library v. ... The references in this article would be clearer with a different and/or consistent style of citation, footnoting or external linking. ... The Devil is the name given to a supernatural entity, who, in most Western religions, is the central embodiment of evil. ... A loan shark is a person or body that offers illegal unsecured loans at high interest rates to individuals, often backed by blackmail or threats of violence. ...

External links

Wikisource has original text related to this article:
The Devil and Tom Walker
  • Full Text at About.com
  • "The Devil and Tom Walker" at Internet Movie Database

and tom likes eggs Image File history File links Wikisource-logo. ... The original Wikisource logo. ...

  Results from FactBites:
The Devil and Tom Walker Summary and Study Guide - Washington Irving (518 words)
In an area settled by Quakers and Puritans, religious piety was of utmost importance to citizens, and the lesson of Tom Walker's ruin illustrated the sorrow that would befall unscrupulous sinners.
Some have said that the ''Devil and Tom Walker'' was a well-known folktale in the New England area at the time, and Irving's retelling of it is a straightforward rendition of how he may have heard it from the region's Dutch inhabitants.
Tom asked the devil to provide proof that all he has promised Tom is true.  The...
The Devil and Tom Walker by Washington Irving (4181 words)
Tom's wife was a tall termagant, fierce of temper, loud of tongue, and strong of arm.
Tom consoled himself for the loss of his property with the loss of his wife; for he was a man of fortitude.
Tom was as rigid in religious, as in money matters; he was a stern supervisor and censurer of his neighbours, and seemed to think every sin entered up to their account became a credit on his own side of the page.
  More results at FactBites »



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