Clusive Lesson: Tom Sawyer, The Glorious Trickster

Engage: tricksters in history

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Trickster tales are sometimes funny, sometimes happy, and sometimes even aggravating.

Tricksters are part of today's culture. Ever wonder why people carve "Jack O'Lanterns" and put them outside on Halloween?

Photo of a pumpkin with a lit up carved face.

One legend

One legend that has been told references a man named “Stingy Jack” and goes back to when the Irish immigrants came to the United States due to the potato famine many years ago. Jack was known as a trickster that fooled the devil a couple of times, making the devil promise to not bother him for over 10 years and upon his death to not take his soul.

Another legend

Other stories say that people carved scary faces into turnips, rutabagas or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors to frighten away Stingy Jack and other wandering evil spirits. The English immigrants to the United States found that the Native American variety of pumpkins made perfect lanterns.

Either way, the carved pumpkin face lit up at night was originally meant to trick and outwit something or someone that people wanted to avoid!

Tricksters outwit or outsmart others to get something they want.

What tricksters do you know about?

Have you ever been a trickster?


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