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Fables Vol 1 11

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"Bag O' Bones": It is the Civil War period, where America's north and south armies fight each other for their ideas of freedom. Jack Horner, speaking in a practiced southern accent, had lied and conned his way into the rank of captain in the Confederate Army, for the sole purpose of impressing

Quote1 Clickety Clack! Get into my sack! Quote2
-- Jack Horner

Appearing in "Bag O' Bones"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

  • Sally Cornwelles (Single appearance)


Other Characters:

  • Death (First appearance)



  • Nick Slick's Magic Bag


  • None

Synopsis for "Bag O' Bones"

It is the Civil War period, where America's north and south armies fight each other for their ideas of freedom. Jack Horner, speaking in a practiced southern accent, had lied and conned his way into the rank of captain in the Confederate Army, for the sole purpose of impressing the women with his status as a war hero. Of course the war didn't exactly pan out in the South's favor, and Jack's claim to glory came crashing around him. Not to be outdone, Jack leaves the unit early, tossing a load of supplies (food, clothing, ale) on his back as his army chums see him off. They warn him to stay out of the swamp as all kinds of vile critter like witches and maybe old Nick Slick himself inhabit it, but Jack waves them off, proclaiming he "ain't afraid of no haints".

Travelling through the bayou, Jack comes across a frail-looking old man sitting on a log, an old black sack lying next to him, playing cards with himself. He invites Jack over for a game of poker. Jack admits he always loves a game, but points out the old man doesn't seem to have much to bet with. The man smiles, saying he might just surprise him, adding that he'll match whatever Jack bets with something from his sack. Hours later and Jack is cleaned out, having nothing left but the pants he was wearing, and he wasn't keen on traversing the swamp buck naked. The old man offers an alternative; Jack can bet his soul. It was then that Jack realized the old man was actually Nick Slick, a devil from folklore. Surprisingly, Jack agreed to one more hand, pitting his soul against everything Nick had. Nick dealt an Aces High Flush. Jack smiled, showing he was holding four-of-a-kind, featuring four jacks, and thereby winning the hand. Old Nick was upset, but bound by his word, he gave back everything he won, along with his magic sack.

Magic bag now in hand, Jack used it's power to drag animals he came across, such as pigs and chickens, into it's bottomless depths for later consumption. He soon came across a rich, albeit run-down estate, calling out only to receive silence for an answer. He enters uninvited, and searches the rooms for any sign of life. Once he gets to the upstairs western wing bedroom, Jack finds a beautiful young woman lying in bed greeting him. She introduces herself as Sally Cornwelles, last of the Cornwelles line. Jack asks her why she didn't greet him at the entrance. It's because of her debilitating illness, she explains, it's keeping her bed-ridden and is going to kill her before the sun rises tomorrow, just like it did her family and ancestors. In Jack's usual selfish manner, he suggests that he could give her a good last night romp before she dies. Sally, of course, gets offended by his words and begs him to leave her to her fate. Jack then has another idea. What if he could prevent Death from claiming her? Sally is angered that he would suggest such an impossible notion, though she adds that she'd do anything if he really could. Jack simply says "Deal!". That night, Death himself came to the estate. He climbed the stairs and entered the frightened Sally's room. But before he could take her, Jack sprang up from behind and opened his sack, sucking Death inside. Her paralysis suddenly gone, Sally leaps from the bed and gives Jack, her hero, a big hug. And as she promised, she and Jack had sex for the rest of the night.

The next morning, Jack sends Sally out to fix him up some breakfast while he gets some rest. She starts by grabbing a chicken out in the yard and chops it's head off. To her horror, the chicken didn't die, it's head still clucking while the body ran around like mad! A few minutes later, Jack wakes up to see Sally covered in blood, yelling at him to come outside. She's tried killing the chickens, cows, and pigs, but none of them will die. What's more, some of Jack's civil war comrades have made their way to the estate, mutilated and bloodied, unable to die. They blame Jack for their condition, saying he's denied them their deaths after being cut down in battle. Desperate, Jack quickly races upstairs and retrieves the magic bag. He opens it up and sets Death free. Death happily mentions that was the first day off he's ever had, asking Jack to let him hop back in the bag once every year or so. Before departing to catch up on his work, Death says he'll give Sally one more year. She looks at Jack, smiling. Anticipating that their year together will be a grand one.

It's said that a few weeks later, Sally ran off with a preacher and whiskey drummer. Jack lost the magic bag soon after.


  • This book was first published on March 12, 2003.
  • It's mentioned that Jack was able to deal himself four jacks out of any deck of cards whenever he liked. Whether this is true or one of his many exaggerations is unknown.


  • No trivia.

See Also

Recommended Reading

  • None.

Links and References

  • No external links.

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