illustrated outline of a person's head with a red thumbprint on the forehead with an outline of the devil behind

The Devil and Tom Walker

by Washington Irving
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In "The Devil and Tom Walker," who supposedly buried the treasure?

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Kidd buried the stolen treasure, and the devil presides over it to make sure nobody retrieves the money.

At the beginning of the short story, Irving writes that on top of a high ridge with a few scattered oak trees just a few miles from Boston, Captain Kidd buried a massive amount of treasure under one of the trees. William Kidd was an actual pirate, who supposedly buried treasure in the Caribbean before he was arrested and hanged in 1701 by the British authorities. Irving writes that Kidd chose the high bluff as the ideal location to hide his buried treasure because the inlet allowed for easy access by boat and the high ridge provided a prime lookout. Irving also writes that the devil presided during the hiding of the money and took it under his guardianship. As the story goes, Kidd never returned to Boston to retrieve his treasure and was hanged for piracy.

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Captain Kidd supposedly buried his treasure in this swamp. Specifically, it is located under an large, old oak tree on a ridge that rises abruptly near the water's edge.

Kidd was a pirate and/or privateer (accounts differ) who was hanged in the late 1700s, leaving behind a legend that he had buried a significant treasure somewhere on the northeast coast of North America. In "The Devil and Tom Walker", this treasure is the one buried in the swamp, although the details are almost entirely fabricated by Irving for the sake of the story. Kidd himself is not really relevant to the story; he was probably chosen in order to provide an additional hook for the reader; "Kidd's treasure" as opposed to plain old "pirate treasure".

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