What I'll remember longest, however, is Gotthelf's portrayal of the devil, who appears at the moment of the peasants' greatest despair at their lord's impossible demands for labor:
[A] tall, spindly huntsman, dressed in green from top to toe. Upon his jaunty cap swayed a red feather, a little red beard blazed in his swarthy face, and, nearly concealed between curving nose and pointy chin, like a cave under an overhang, a mouth opened and asked, "What is the matter, good people, that you sit here wailing so piteously as to drive the very stones from the earth and the branches from the trees?"The devil, I think, should be jaunty. And, as he does later in The Black Spider, he should show pity: he sees your plight, and he wants above all else to help you!
Then the green man's face grew even blacker, the red beard so red it seemed to crackle and spark like fir twigs on the fire, the mouth contracted to an arrow-like point.
All of which calls to mind my favorite screen devil, from the 1941 adaptation of The Devil and Daniel Webster: Walter Huston's Ol' Scratch.
Who could refuse that face?