Devil - World Folklore

World Folklore

In the Western Christian tradition, the Devil has entered popular folklore, particularly in his role as a trickster figure. As such, he is found as a character in a wide number of traditional folktales and legends from Ireland, Newfoundland, Italy and the United Kingdom, where he often attempts to trick or outwit other characters. In some of these tales, the Devil is portrayed as more of a folk villain than as the personification of evil. The Devil also features prominently in a number of hagiographical tales, or tales of the saints such as the popular tale of St. Dunstan, many of which may fall outside the authorized religious canon. The Devil is also a recurring feature in tales explaining the etymology of geographical names, lending his name to natural formations such as The Devil's Chimney.

David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, claims to have only one piece of correspondence with the Devil in the nation's vast and varied collections. A letter sent from Baltimore at the end of the American Civil War to Confederate leader Jefferson Davis bemoans the rebellion against the United States and is signed by "the Devil".

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