I Will Grant Your Wish: Making Deals With The Devil
There were times when people believed in mythologies and magic. They believed that minds can be bewitched and people can be possessed. These ideas still exist, but those who follow it are steadily decreasing. They are forming secretive cults away from the sight of the general population. They may be indistinguishable from everyone else, for they don't walk around wearing dark clothes, waving a wand and spouting incantations. They are just like everyone else, just with a different set of beliefs.
Now when a man has a wish, a desire that he wants to see fulfilled no matter what the cost, what does he do? He may simply give it his all and hope for the best, and if it fails, he may lose hope and carry on with his life. But some others may use various unconventional means in order to achieve it. They could offer sacrifices, get involved in voodoo or any other kinds of rituals, hoping to get what they want. They might even make a deal with the devil.
A devil that makes your wish come true is not an angel in disguise. The devil, in literary sense, may or may not exist. But metaphorically, the devil is someone or something that lacks any kind of good intentions. So when you meet a devil and the it offers to fulfil your wish, it's simply not wise to blindly go along with it. For the devil has an agenda of its own, and whatever it does is not for your sake, but for its own. That is why it's the devil.
The stories of making deals with the devil usually includes the crossroads. In some stories, the devil can only be summoned by making some specific rituals, and in others it may simply present itself when it finds the right person standing at the crossroads. The crossroads may be considered as the gateway between our world and the other world, and the devil that comes to make the pact is the mediator, usually represented as a being covered entirely in black. The pact that the devil makes may sound like a one-sided deal, with us getting all the money, fame, happiness and pleasure while the devil just stands there and watches. But that's not how it ends. These tales usually end with the soul of the one who made the deal being taken away from this world by the devil, and being trapped in hell for eternity.
There have been many rumors of deals being made with the devil, usually in cases where people had suddenly become rich, famous or talented and then one day, sudden death. When people don't know how to explain something, they try to fit everything into a existing story, even if it's a myth. While there is no way of making sure, the life and career of Robert Johnson as one of the greatest musicians, began and ended this way. When he was young, Robert Johnson did not appear to be someone who might excel in music, especially playing guitar. But then one day, he became one of the greatest blues musician of all time. And then just as suddenly, he died. The cause of death was never confirmed, but it was suspected to have resulted from poisoning, but then there was no definite proof. The fact that his songs referred to crossroads only added fuel to the fire. The story was set. Robert Johnson had met the devil at the crossroads, made a pact, gained talent and became famous. And once his time was up, the devil came back to collect the payment. There was no proof that any of this was false, just as there was no proof that he was indeed poisoned.
This kind of deal is also known as a Faustian pact, named after Faust from a German legend. Faust was a scholar who was extremely dissatisfied with his life and even tried to end it and failed. And so he went to the devil and made a pact. The devil granted his wish and gave him all the knowledge and pleasure of the world. And he lived a good life for the next few years, in some stories it was 24 years representing 24 hours of a day, with the devil providing him assistance whenever he needed. But once the 24 years ended, the devil took his soul back with him to burn forever in hell.
The devil that makes the deal is known by various names, but the stories almost always end the same. It never works out well for the one who made the deal. In a way, it can even be considered as a story with a moral that goes something along the lines of – Never trust any stranger who is ready to grant your wish and expects nothing in return. Because he may be the devil, and in the end, you might end up losing more.