Welsh: Billy Duffy and the Devil (cont.)

The "will-o'-the-wisp" which you will see at the end of this story is also associated with the lights of the jack-o'-lanterns; you can read more about that at Wikipedia - Will-o'-the-wisp and Wikipedia - Jack-o'-lantern.

[Notes by LKG]

This story is part of the Welsh (Emerson) unit. Story source: Welsh Fairy-Tales and Other Stories by Peter H. Emerson (1894).

Billy Duffy and the Devil (cont.)
(see previous page for audio)

At the end of three days, Billy returned and opened the door, and the devil said, "Oh, Billy, you've played a fine trick to me; let me go."

"What are you going to give me if I let you go?"

"Seven years more, twice the money, and two days' grace for wishing for what you like."

The devil paid his money and disappeared, and Billy shut the smithy and took to gambling and drinking, so that at the end of seven years he was without a penny and working again in his smithy.

On the last night of the seven years, he went to his favourite public-house again and wished for five pounds.

After he wished, a little man entered and spat the sovereigns into the tumbler, and they all drank all night.

Next morning, Billy went back to his smithy. The devil, who had grown suspicious, turned himself into a sovereign and appeared on the floor. Billy seized the sovereign and clapped it into his purse. Then he took his purse, and lay it upon the anvil, and began to beat it with his sledge-hammer, when the devil began to call out, "Spare my poor limbs, spare my poor limbs!"

"How much now if I let you go?" asked Billy

"Seven more years, three times the money, and one day in which to wish for what you like."

Billy took the sovereign out of his purse and threw it away when he found his money in the smithy.

Billy carried on worse than ever — gambled and drank and raced, squandering it all before his seven years was gone. On the last day of his term he went to his favourite inn as usual and wished for a tumbler full of sovereigns. A little man with a big head, a big nose, and big mouth, a little body, and little legs, with clubbed feet and a forked tail, brought them in and put them in the tumbler.

The drunkards in the room got scared when they saw the little man, for he looked all glowing with fire as he danced on the table. When he finished, he said, "Billy, tomorrow morning our compact is up."

"I know it, old boy, I know it, old boy!" said Billy.

Then the devil ran out and disappeared, and the people began to question Billy: "What is that? I think it is you, Mister Duffy, he is after."

"Oh, it is nothing at all," said Billy.

"I should think there was something," said the man.

"I am afraid my house will get a bad name," croaked the landlord.

"Not in the least! You are only a coward," said Billy.

"But in the name of God, what is it all about?" asked an old man.

"Oh, you'll see by-and-by," said Billy; "it is nothing at all."

Next morning Billy went to his smithy, but the devil would not come near it.

So he went to his house and began to quarrel with his wife, and whilst he was quarrelling, the devil walked in and said: "Well, Mr. Duffy, I am ready for you."

"Ah, yes, just sit down and wait a minute or two. I have some papers I want to put to rights before I go."

So the devil sat down in the arm-chair, and Billy went to the smithy and heated a pair of tongs red-hot, and, coming back, he got the devil by the nose and pulled it out as though it had been soft iron.

And the devil began yelling, but he could not move, and Billy kept drawing the nose out till it was long enough to reach over the window, when he put an old bell-topper on the end of it. And the devil yelled, and snorted fire from his nose.

The whole of the village crowded round Billy's, house — at a safe distance — calling out, "Billy and the devil! The devil and Billy Duffy!"

The devil got awful savage, and blackguarded Billy Duffy terribly, but it was useless. Billy kept him there for days till he got civil and said: "Mr. Duffy, what will you let me go for?"

"Only one thing: I am to live the rest of my life without you, and have as much gold as I like."

The devil agreed, so Billy let him go, and immediately he grew rich. He lived to a good old age, squandering money all the time, but at last he died and when he got to the gates of hell the clerk said, "Who are you?"

"Billy Duffy," said he.

And when the devil, who was standing near, heard, he said: "Good God! Bar the gates and double-lock them, for if this Billy Duffy the blacksmith gets in, he will ruin us all."

Old Billy saw a pair of red-hot tongs, which he picked up, and seized the devil by the nose. When the devil pulled back his head, he left a red-hot bit of his nose in the tongs.

Then Billy Duffy went up to the gates of heaven and St. Peter asked him who he was.

"Billy Duffy the blacksmith," he answered.

"No admittance! You are a bold, bad man," said St. Peter.

"Good God! what will I do?" said Billy, and he went back to the earth, where he and the piece of the devil's nose melted into a ball of fire, and he roves the earth till this day as a will-o'-the-wisp.


(900 words)









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