Money (in Occult Tradition)
Money that comes from a pact with the devil is of poor quality,
and such wealth, like the fairy-money, generally turns to
earth, or to lead, toads, or anything else worthless or repulsive.
St. Gregory of Tours (d. 594 C.E.) told a illustrative story ‘‘A
youth received a piece of folded paper from a stranger, who
told him that he could get from it as much money as he wished,
so long as he did not unfold it. The youth drew many gold
pieces from the papers, but at length curiosity overcame him,
he unfolded it and discovered within the claws of a cat and a
bear, the feet of a toad and other repulsive fragments, while at
the same moment his wealth disappeared.’’
It is said that an Irishman outsmarted the devil. In his book
Irish Witchcraft and Demonology (1913; 1973), St. John D. Seymour
told the amusing story of Joseph Damer of Tipperary
County, who made a bargain with the devil to sell his soul for
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a top-boot full of gold. On the appointed day, the devil was ushered
into the living room, where a top-boot stood in the center
of the floor. The devil poured gold into it, but to his surprise,
it remained empty. He hastened away for more gold, but the
top-boot would not fill, even after repeated efforts. At length,
in sheer disgust, the devil departed. Afterward it was claimed
that the shrewd Irishman had taken the sole off the boot and
fastened it over a hole in the floor. Underneath was a series of
large cellars, where men waited with shovels to remove each
shower of gold as it came down.
In popular superstition it is supposed that if a person hears
the cuckoo for the first time with money in his pocket, he will
have some all the year, while if he greets the new moon for the
first time in the same fortunate condition, he will not lack
money throughout the month.