Sinister early American satire from Washington Irving (April 3, 1783 – November 28, 1859) author of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle. The classic short story “The Devil and Tom Walker” is the dark and eerie tale of a foolish man’s greed, hypocrisy and ambition. Puritan writing at its finest.
Tom is a debased man, miserly and cruel to his fellows, and even to his wife. The Devil shows him a grove of rotting trees, representing souls. They make the customary deal, with Walker becoming one of the richest men around and Walker begins to work at keeping his soul, despite a lifetime of usury and the dark deal to which he agreed.
If you’re a fan of works like The Scarlet Letter, this is just right for you. A definitely religious message, but with enough horror and fantasy to draw in even an atheist listener.