Most Disturbing Post in LOLManuscript History:
Honestly, I can't just post this without some further explanation. Here's another, slightly different, version of the image from 1668:
Seriously, though, I was shocked when I came across this one. I tried to read the ballad, but the condition of the original is pretty poor. From what I can deduce, a Baker convinces the Devil that if he cuts his "stones" off, the Devil will be a personal and financial success. The Devil believes him, but later realizes he's made a terrible, emasculating mistake. Then the Devil comes to exact his revenge (and collect the Baker's balls, I think), and the Baker's wife fools him, and then some other shit happens, and the Devil loses.
I immediately thought of the classic Charlie Daniels Band epic "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" when I saw the pamphlet. I never understood why it was always so easy to dupe the Devil. He IS the Prince of Darkness, right? Shouldn't he be a little bit more wary of accepting shady bets and falling prey to human trickery? He's been fooled out of a golden fiddle and ruling the earth under a regime of everlasting darkness, but now he's been bamboozled out of his testicles. Shameful. I prefer to remember the Devil in happier times, like when he was tempting humanity, and trying to seduce poets away from paths of righteousness, and inventing Rock music. Let's listen to this song, throw up some horns, and think of better days:
Iron Maiden: The Number of the Beast
**UPDATE**: Upon further reading (although it's still difficult to decipher every word) I think I understand what is happening in the picture. It seems that the Devil makes the Baker promise to let him cut off his testicles to repay the debt of his own missing balls. The Baker's wife has the idea to go meet the Devil herself, dressed as the Baker. (That's what's going on in the background of the image, when the Devil is holding the knife.)
When the Devil tries to castrate her, she tells him she was "gelded yesterday." Then the Devil, not believing her, peeks up her coats and sees a "terrible wound," and tells her that whoever did her gelding job was a poor physician. The Devil tells her to leave and get medical attention. Then she goes home and brags to the Baker about how "She has cozened the Devil of Hell," and they are merry and full of glee. You know, I sort of wish I didn't read it, because I just feel even worse for the Devil now.