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How does Tom avoid fulfilling his end of the bargain in "The Devil and Tom Walker?"

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Quick Answer

In "The Devil and Tom Walker," a short story by Washington Irving, Tom avoids fulfilling his end of the bargain with the Devil by attending church, carrying a small Bible with him wherever he goes and keeping another Bible on his counting house desk. However, when the Devil comes for him, he has left both Bibles on his desk, and the Devil takes him away.

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Full Answer

"The Devil and Tom Walker" first appeared in 1824 in the short story collection "Tales of a Traveler." The story begins with a description of a treasure left in a forest by Kidd the Pirate. Tom meets the Devil, nicknamed "Old Scratch," in a swamp, and the Devil offers to give him the treasure in exchange for his soul. Tom tells his wife about the meeting, and she goes to the swamp and gets killed by the Devil.

Tom agrees to the Devil's bargain, and uses the money to become a usurer, or money lender. As Tom grows old, he begins to worry about his pact with the Devil, and attempts to circumvent the bargain by becoming a Christian. However, when the Devil finds him without his Bibles, he mounts a black horse with Tom, rides towards an old Indian fortress and disappears in a flash of lightning.

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