The Devil That Went Down to Georgia

What would you do to stay alive?

The scene opens with a Fiddle, Banjo, Jug Band and Drums playing a lively tune. A jolly ol’ man playing the Fiddle starts narrating a tale.

/ The devil went down to Georgia, he was lookin’ for a soul to steal
He was in a bind ‘cause he was way behind
And he was willin’ to make a deal /

/ When he came across this young man sawin’ on a fiddle and playin’ it hot
And the devil jumped up on a hickory stump
And said, “boy, let me tell you what” /

/ “I guess you didn’t know it but I’m a fiddle player too
And if you’d care to take a dare, I’ll make a bet with you
Now you play a pretty good fiddle, boy
But give the devil his due
I’ll bet a fiddle of gold against your soul
‘Cause I think I’m better than you” /

/ The boy said, “my name’s Johnny and it might be a sin
But I’ll take your bet, you’re gonna regret
‘Cause I’m the best there’s ever been” /

/ Johnny, rosin up your bow and play your fiddle hard
‘Cause Hell’s broke loose in Georgia, and the devil deals the cards
And if you win, you get this shiny fiddle made of gold
But if you lose, the devil gets your soul /

This is a happy story, where the Devil is humiliated, and the boy rejects the Fiddle of Gold. There are rarely simple, happy stories like this in real life. Here’s what really happened – Don’t let people lie to you, this one is true.

Johnny was an orphan, whose mother worked as a battlefield nurse for the Union, and his father and brothers fought for the Confederacy. Everyone in his family died or was presumed dead, by the time the war ground to a close, except for the little Johnny.
As a 9-year-old, he joined the Fight for Freedom as a drummer boy, learning the specialized rhythms for attack, retreat, reload, and over the years he was able to help his commander with even more intricate orders, like calling for Anvil & Hammer, Pincer, or cycle lines. This whole time he dreamed of a simple life, with no killing and happy music, played to drunk farmers in fly-speck villages.
Due to trauma, he thinks that personally witnessed his father’s death, feeling the hot blood splash his face, seeing the steam rise from the freshly-made corpse. His two brothers died the month and the year before, and he hadn’t read a letter from his mother in three years. If his father had lasted another week, he would have survived the war, but such is the luck Johnny has.
To make matters worse, the death of the last remaining family member right in front of his eyes made the young teen flee the field of battle. Generals have little compassion for deserters, especially ones that cause their armies to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory. The deaths of 377 soldiers were put on Johnny’s head, and even if his brothers-at-arms hadn’t tracked him down and lynched him, he would have been shot for treason.
What really happened was he suffered a severe panic attack. His father was in the medical tent, and Johnny didn’t want to lose him as well. A musket ball took out the banner boy to his left, and he couldn’t handle any more death. He left his post, throwing the soldiers into disarray when his units didn’t respond properly to battlefield strategy. He tried to take his father and flee the war. His father was the one that hung him for treason. He was the one that killed his father, and then he ate his corpse, and he’s tortured with the images whenever his Manitou takes over.

I told you he had luck, didn’t I? His luck had it that a devil really did go to Georgia, and was ready to make a deal. Luck also brought the youth back to life, a slave to an evil spirit. The Agents he has been fleeing ever since call it a Manitou. He calls it Helgrim, and it has caused pain and suffering in every single place he has called home. He swears that when the lights went red, then faded to black, he was transported to a cold, dank cave. A deep purple flame shed light on him and a hulking shadow with glowing red eyes and sharp white teeth. He bargained away his soul to bring music and joy to the oppressed masses. He didn’t think that he would also be unintentionally causing the oppression as well. The Manitou’s first act in his new Johnny-suit was to bring vengeance to the body’s killer.
He’s been traveling constantly for over half his life at this point and doesn’t stay in one spot for longer than a week. The Manitou becomes restless otherwise. Wherever he stops, he tries to leave it better than it was when he got there, which has given him the opportunity to perfect his fiddle playing.
The people he helps remark on the ugly little boy playing a fiddle made of pure gold. The fiddle is high-quality, but it’s normal fiddle painted with gold leaf. He looks underfed, even though he gorges himself on raw steak, hard liquor, and cigars. The festivals he throws lighten the hearts of the town, to the point that they brush off the rash of small animal mutilations that also happened at the time. His clothing and gear are ragged, though he wears lavish ascots that always cover his neck. He skimps on anything that he doesn’t absolutely need, seeming to treat his beggarly status as a sort of penitence.
As a teenager with no farm experience, he knew nothing about horseflesh, and was sold a beautiful mule instead of a cheap horse. It gets him to where he is going, but since he doesn’t have a set destination, he doesn’t mind that it’s slower than a horse.


Johnny is one twisted fiddler!


Yeah, it’ll be fun playing him


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