In the classic short story “The Devil and Tom Walker” by Washington Irving, the titular character, Tom Walker, makes a deal with the devil to gain wealth and power.
Initially, Tom is hesitant to make a deal with the devil, also known as “Old Scratch.” However, he becomes intrigued when Old Scratch mentions that he knows where Captain Kidd, a notorious pirate, buried his treasure.
In exchange for the treasure, Tom agrees to become a usurer, or moneylender, and to give Old Scratch a percentage of his profits. However, as Tom becomes more successful and greedy, he tries to go back on the deal and keep all the profits for himself.
Old Scratch, not one to be cheated, reappears and demands Tom`s soul in exchange for the treasure and the profits he has already made. Tom initially tries to bargain with the devil and asks for more time, but ultimately realizes that he has no other choice but to accept the consequences of his actions.
Tom`s agreement with the devil, therefore, ultimately leads to his downfall as he loses both his wealth and his soul. The story serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of greed and the importance of keeping one`s promises.