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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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A GAMBLER'S LESSON

FAR AWAY BY A RIVER, THERE WAS A LITTLE WHITE HOUSE IN WHICH THERE LIVED A FAMILY.
A FATHER, MOTHER, A BOY AND A GIRL. THEY HAD ONE PROBLEM, THEIR FATHER LIKED TO GAMBLE
AND DRINK. ALL OF A SUDDEN, THEIR MOTHER GOT VERY SICK. THEY DIDN'T HAVE THE MONEY TO SEND
HER TO THE HOSPITAL BECAUSE THE FATHER GAMBLED EVERYTHING HE EARNED. THE MOTHER DIED. THE
GIRL WAS HELPING WITH EVERYTHING AROUND THE HOUSE AND THE BOY WAS TRYING TO EARN MONEY FOR
THE LIVING OF THE FAMILY. ONE DAY THE BOY WAS DRAFTED INTO THE ARMY. HE WAS ALWAYS WONDERING
HOW HIS SISTER WAS MANAGING AT HOME AND WAS ALWAYS VERY SAD. HIS ARMY BUDDY WAS ASKING HIM WHY
HE WAS SO SAD. HE TRIED TO HIDE THE ANSWER FROM HIM, BUT FINALLY TOLD HIM THAT HE HAD A BEAUTIFUL
SISTER WHO COULD NOT MANAGE THE HOME BECAUSE OF THE FATHER'S GAMBLING. HIS FRIEND PROMISED TO
HELP HIM DURING HIS NEXT FURLOUGH. HE WENT TO A THEATRE AND BOUGHT HIMSELF A DEVIL OUTFIT. WHEN
FURLOUGH TIME CAME, HE PUT THE OUTFIT ON, AND ON TOP OF IT, THE BEST SUIT THA HE COULD FIND.
WHEN THEY REACHED THE BOY'S HOME, THEY COULDN'T FIND THE BOY'S FATHER. THE SISTER TOLD HIM THAT
THEIR FATHER WAS A FEW MILES AWAY AT AN INN. THE BOY'S FRIEND WENT TO THE INN AND ASKED FOR THE MAN.
THE INNKEEPER TOLD HIM THAT HE WAS PLAYING CARDS IN THE CORNER. HE WENT OVER TO THE CORNER AND GREETED
THE GAMBLERS, ASKING PERMISSION TO JOIN THEM. THEY ACCEPTED HIM. HE WAS A VERY GOOD CARD PLAYER AND
STARTED TO WIN FROM THE BEGINNING. A FEW HOURS LATER, ONLY THE GIRL'S FATHER WAS LEFT IN THE GAME.
ALL THE OTHERS HAD STOPPED PLAYING BECAUSE THEY HAD LOST EVERYTHING THAT THEY HAD. THE GIRL'S FATHER
WAS LOSING ALSO. BY ELEVEN O'CLOCK, HE ASKED FOR ONE FREE HAND OF CARDS. HE HAD LOST EVERYTHING. THE
BOY GAVE IT TO HIM. IT ALSO WAS A LOSING HAND. THE MAN WANTED TO QUIT AND TOLD THE BOY THAT HE HAD NO
MONEY TO GAMBLE. THE BOY TOOK HIS GLOVES OFF. RED, LONG FINGERNAILS WERE STICKING OUT FROM HIS DEVIL'S
OUTFIT, AND WHEN HE REMOVED HIS HAT, LITTLE HORNS WERE STICKING OUT FROM HIS HAIR. HE SAID, "NOW WE ARE
GOING TO PLAY FOR YOUR SOUL. I WOULD LIKE TO WIN YOUR SOUL." THE MAN JUMPED UP AND STARTED TO RUN TOWARDS
HIS HOME. THE YOUNG MAN WAS PURSUING HIM. THERE WAS A CHURCH BY THE ROAD. THE MA RAN INTO IT. THE MAN TOOK
THE SEAT CLOSEST TO THE ALTAR. THE BOY, OUTSIDE THE CHURCH, WHISTLED HIS WAY TO HIS FRIEND'S HOME. THE MAN
WAITED TILL THE PRIEST CAME IN AND ASKED FOR CONFESSION. THE BOY RETURNED ALL THE WINNINGS TO HIS FRIEND AND
ASKED TO MARRY HIS SISTER. FROM THAT DAY ON, THEY WERE A VERY HAPPY FAMILY. THEIR FATHER DID NOT DRINK OR GAMBLE ANYMORE.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT LEARNED THIS STORY AT AN EVENING OF FAMILY STORY TELLING I LUKOWA, POLAND.
HE LAUGHED QUITE A BIT WHEN DESCRIBING THE DEVIL AN THE EFFECT IT HAD ON THE GAMBLING FATHER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT ; POLAND ; LUKOWA

James Callow Keyword(s): SOLDIER DISGUISED AS DEVIL REFORMS COMPULSIVE GAMBLER

Subject headings: Favorites
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Ordinary Tale
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Magic

Date learned: 00-00-1934

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