A Russian folktale in which a benign old soldier outwits not one but seven devils, illustrated with wood engravings reminiscent of Fritz Eichenberg's illustrations for the great Russian novels. Although penniless, the soldier gives his last two loaves to beggars who seem even hungrier than he is; they reward him with a winning deck of cards and a sack that can catch anything. Having offered to rid the Tsar's palace of noisy, destructive devils, the soldier first plays cards with them, winning all their gold, and then imprisons them in the sack--although, not wishing to be cruel, he slips them food and drink from time to time. Finally, he lets them out on condition that they behave--and uses them as couriers to distribute his wealth to the poor, an activity they come to enjoy in spite of themselves. This is a handsomely designed book (an austere, dark red line frames the text and elegant illustrations, tempering their severity), with appeal for older children and slower adult readers. The touch of comedy that good devil stories always seem to have and the soldier's benign good humor are reflected in McCurdy's wood engravings. His economical text is well-paced and straightforward; it would be fine for reading aloud.