Throughout the novel, a number of subtle hints and clues predict future events in Gideon’s life. The fact that each example of foreshadowing is linked to Gideon meeting the Devil suggests that this encounter is part of his destiny. The idea of Gideon having a destiny that he cannot steer away from fits with Calvinist belief in predestination.


When he is aged 13, Gideon finds a copy of The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns and Fairies in his father’s study. It contains an inscription:

To Remind You of Better Days and Other Worlds. G.M

This foreshadows Gideon’s close friendship with the Devil who reveals that he knew his father well and gave him the book during the war.

Gideon’s accident

Gideon experiences twitches and spasms in his left arm when he is in his 30s. On one occasion, he talks of his arm jumping and jerking uncontrollably.

This foreshadows Gideon’s accident at the Black Jaws. While clinging to the side of the gorge, the slow spasm of the arm’s independence causes him to lose his grip and fall into the water below.

The Devil and the Black Jaws

William Winnyford asks Gideon to record an extract from The Legend of the Black Jaws. This tells the story of the Lady of Keldo House and her maid and their apparent meeting with the Devil. He is described as:

a black-avised gentleman, dressed in the finest claes

This foreshadows Gideon’s own meeting with the Devil at the Black Jaws. Some details from his version of events are very similar to those from the legend, particularly with regards to the Devil’s appearance and the cave where he lives.

As with many other events in the book, it is up to readers to decide whether the legend and Gideon's experience are similar because they are real, or whether Gideon's confused mind creates his encounter with the Devil using details of a story he has heard.

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