Friday, September 3, 2010

Devil Spotting: The Wager by Donna Jo Napoli

The Wager is a reworking of the Sicilian folktale "Don Giovanni de la Fortuna," a variant of the more commonly known "Bearskin" tale. The story (and reworking) certainly involves making a deal with the devil but there is, once again, no connection with the devil at the crossroads motif.

The devil. This vision was a nightmare in disguise. Now came the part where Don Giovanni had to trade his soul.
"No, no, no. You're at once more dramatic and more ignorant than I anticipated. And after all the books you read under Don Alfinu's tutelage." He tsked again. "Not your soul. It would be crude to demand your soul right off. Crude and easy and uninteresting. No, no. Let's do something to banish the ridiculous boredom of ordinary things. Let's start with a test trade. Something much more rare than a soul. Your beauty."
(Napoli, Donna Jo. 2010. The Wager, Henry Holt, 67-8)

[Go to for more information about this tale.]

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