Between 1822 and 1823 Washington Irving, who had traveled to Germany, studied German folklore with which he had become fascinated. From this folklore, Irving gleaned several motifs that he wove around the Captain Kidd legend in his tale, "The Devil and Tom Walker," making it uniquely American.
Here are geographical settings in Irving's story:
1-2. The opening sentence of Irving's fictional sketch describes two locations:
A few miles from Boston in Massachusetts, there is a deep inlet, winding several miles into the interior of the country from Charles Bay....
- In Massachusetts, close to Charles Bay
- A deep inlet has "a beautiful dark grove" on one side, and on the other is a high ridge
3. A swamp. The residence of Tom Walker is in close proximity of the inlet. One day Tom takes a shorter route home through the swamp.
4. An old Indian fort set in a woods where Tom stops to rest.
5. Boston, where Tom sets up his "broker's shop" where he will become a usurer as part of his pact with Old Scratch. He also builds a large house, but does not furnish it.