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Sold His Soul for a Donut

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A donut to die for.

Mugman: No, Cuphead! Your soul's worth more than ten bucks!
Cuphead: Hey, you're right! Make it twenty.
The Cuphead Show!, "Sweater Off Dead"

Selling one's soul to the Devil is an old plot. Usually, characters sell it for something extraordinary — life, power, riches — only to be blindsided by the other party when they least expect it. But sometimes, someone gets scammed into selling or willingly sells their soul for essentially nothing.

This is usually a comedy trope.

Sub-Trope of Deal with the Devil. Compare Mundane Wish and Wasteful Wishing, when a character who can wish for anything and get it requests something incredibly ordinary; Comically Small Bribe, when a character offers an incredibly small payment for a service; and Comically Small Demand, when someone with authority or power over others uses it to achieve something minor or mundane. Often a result of a Rash Promise.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Devilman: Jacon's victims had some rather small desires; Hairo wanted to go ice skating with his friends when he was stuck home studying, Alphonse wanted to drive fast while he was stuck in a traffic jam; the only one who had a greater goal was Chaco who wanted to kill Alphonse after his reckless driving caused a car accident that injured Hairo.
  • Hell Girl: By contracting the titular Hell Girl, Enma Ai, you are able to send another person to hell, but in return, your soul will also go to hell once you die. In later seasons, a couple of characters send people to hell for very petty reasons, like the one guy who was upset that his car was accidentally scratched by another guy, sending the latter to hell just for that.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: In the original timeline, this is the deal Madoka made with Kyubey to turn into a magical girl, wishing for a cat that was injured to be healed again. Of course, at the time, no one really knew that making a deal with Kyubey essentially meant having your soul ripped out, made into a gem and becoming walking husks to later become Eldritch Abomination monsters once the gem was fully corrupted.

    Comic Books 
  • In the first story arc of Christopher Priest's run on Black Panther, Everett Ross accidentally sells his soul to Mephisto for a pair of pants.
  • When various DC Comics villains were offered anything for their souls by the demon Neron in the Underworld Unleashed crossover, The Joker wished for a box of cigars. Granted, there is no doubt that Joker was going to hell anyway, and he makes it clear that they're good cigars.
  • The Simpsons: One Treehouse of Horror issue reveals the souls of the workers at the Nuclear Power Plant are already forfeit since they sold them in the last round of contract negotiations for... three ply toilet paper. Still, they seem to enjoy the comfort.
  • In one Terry Fuckwit strip in Viz, God offers Terry Fuckwit eternal life in Heaven in exchange for taking his cakes out of the oven. The Devil interrupts and offers him an alternative deal: "why not sell me your soul for this dried up piece of dogshit?" Terry Fuckwit accepts the Devil's offer.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • The MLP Loops: Played for Laughs in Loop 191.8, when Apple Bloom finds Grogar in her cookie jar, demanding souls in exchange for cookies (and apparently, it's not the first time this has happened). Luckily, the Time Abyss of the loops means Apple Bloom has some extra souls she can pay with.
  • Vow of Nudity: Played for Drama in Fiora's backstory. While a university student, she helped one of her professors rid the world of demonic artifacts, only for the school to inexplicably revoke her sponsorship and drum her out the day before the final exam. When she attends and takes it in disguise, just to prove she could have passed, she realizes mid-test that the professor had tainted everybody's alchemy ingredients and the test-takers were unknowingly creating a summoning circle for imminent demonic invasion. Knowing nobody would ever believe her in time, she urgently sells her soul to a different demon in exchange for a one-use explosive vial that she uses to murder the professor and disrupt the exams. When Haara meets her, she's spent years as a demonic thrall embittered about sacrificing her soul in a way that was guaranteed to give her nothing and ruin her life.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In O Brother, Where Art Thou?, the main characters encounter a young musician who claims to have sold his soul to be able to play the guitar really well. Delmar, who recently had a religious experience, is disappointed by the idea of selling a soul for so little.
    Delmar: Aw, son, for that ya traded yer everlasting soul?
    Tommy: Well, I wasn't doin' nothin' with it...
  • In Stay Tuned, Roy Knable sold his soul just so he could get a new TV. Played with in that he initially declined to sign the contract, only to change his mind when Spike tells him about a free trial.

  • In Lakehouse Infernal, Ethriel warns Greg that he should really not go around saying things like "I'd sell my soul for a glass of water" when in Hell. Someone might take him up on it.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Angel episode "Double or Nothing", it's revealed that as a young man Gunn sold his soul for his pick-up truck. At the time he was so poor and in such despair about his lot and the state of the world it seemed a good deal. And to cap it all off, it wasn't even a particularly nice truck.
  • In Dinosaurs, Earl once traded his soul for a mug. When the Devil shows up to collect, Earl finds out the mug came with a warranty that allows him to claim a total refund if he's not satisfied. Said "refund" came as a Reset Button Ending that turned time back to the moment the Devil showed up to offer the deal.
  • In the Married... with Children Episode "Damn Bundys", the Devil appears, wanting Al's soul. Al immediately runs up to him and says "Deal!" The Devil remarks that "Tom Arnold put up more of a fight." Averted when Al makes a legitimate deal: Trading his soul in exchange for playing for the Chicago Bears and leading them to a Super Bowl. Discussed when Kelly doesn't expect Al's soul to be worth more than a Canadian penny.
  • Riverdale: The season 6 episode "Mr. Cypher" is all about the titular devil seeking out those willing to sell their souls to him for something trivial. He gets Kevin to sell his soul for fame and fortune, Jughead to sell his soul for the ability to write again, and offers to let Pop keep his soul on the condition that he sells him the diner.
  • Supernatural: In the season 6 episode "Weekend at Bobby's", Bobby Singer confronts Crowley in order to get to his soul back after a deal he made with him in the last season. Singer in his last dialogue with Crowley brings up that back when the latter was a human prior to his death and rebirth as a demon, he made a deal with a demon in order to be "in the double digits below the belt".
  • In an episode of Night Court, Dan signs a contract selling his soul to a man in a devil costume for $100. He assumes that the guy is just a nut who calls himself Satan, but then the man demonstrates more and more knowledge of Dan's life, until by the end of the episode Dan is a paranoid wreck terrified that he's condemned himself to eternal damnation. Turns out the whole thing was a prank set up by his co-worker Mac.

  • In The Buoys song "Timothy," the singer and two others are trapped in a mine cave-in, when another person, Joe says he would "sell his soul for just a piece of meat."
  • Kris Kristofferson's "Best of All Possible Worlds" has the narrator wake up in a jail cell with a beer-drinking guard outside. He offers to sell his soul "for somethin' wet and cold as that old cell," but the jailer gleefully informs him his soul isn't worth even a sniff off a bottle.
  • Mitski's "The Deal" is about the narrator selling her soul in exchange for... not having to have a soul anymore.

  • In Trials & Trebuchets, Winsler sells one seventeenth of his soul to the witch Seltie in exchange for a magic scale that so far hasn't been particularly useful.
  • In Welcome to Night Vale, Louie Blasko sold his soul for a can of trombone grease and a limited edition Chet Baker LP.

  • The premise of Damn Yankees is that a guy sells his soul to the Devil in exchange for his favorite baseball team winning the pennant. Hilarity Ensues (and drama) when said guy becomes the star of the team as part of the pact.

    Video Games 
  • Baldur's Gate III: One of the books you can pick up is an erotic play where a man sells his soul to a cambion. There is also a pamphlet containing an interview with the author, where the interviewer asks if the play is supposed to encourage people to sell their souls, before incredulously asking if he seriously sold his soul to make the play a success.
  • In concept rather than in actual gameplay mechanics, but in The Binding of Isaac you can do devil deals where you give heart containers in exchange for powerful items. Now, while gameplay-wise, you're getting weapons and upgrades, in practical terms you can sell your soul in exchange for things like dead babies, a cat's hairball, or a quarter.
  • In Team Fortress 2's webcomic, Medic has died and finds himself in Hell. However, because Medic infused his body with eight more souls, he thus must go to Heaven. However, he negotiates with Satan instead to simply return to life for fifty years. Satan isn't terribly thrilled with this arrangement, as if he owns the majority of his souls, he can vote himself into Heaven, but Medic reassures him that it's almost a certainty that he will end up in Hell.
    Medic: That's a lovely-looking pen.. [Beat] I said, that's a lovely-looking pen.
    Satan: Would you give me a soul for—?
    Medic: I would! Ohhh, what have I done? See, you're well on your way. I don't like my chances. At any rate, I should really get going.
  • Zombidle: Devil Deals (powerups or bonuses every 5 or 10 minutes) are offered in exchange for your soul... or watching an ad for 15 seconds. And sometimes the ad doesn't even show up.

    Visual Novels 

  • Demon Candy: Parallel: Jonathan jokingly offers to sell his soul to Noelle for a Klondike bar, not realising that she was serious. Hilarity Ensues.
  • This is the modus operandi of Santa Claus in Oglaf. He gets children to swear their souls to him in exchange for toys while they're too young to know better, and then enslaves their spirits in his workshop after they die as adults.
  • One throw-away strip of Sandra and Woo has Sandra remark that she'd sell her soul for an cold glass of lemonade on a hot day. To her surprise a glass of lemonade materializes on the picnic table next to her.
  • Sinfest frequently portrays the Devil and his servants buying souls by posing as lemonade stands. One passerby even lampshades the stupidity of this, then mockingly tells the Devil to sign him up for a t-shirt (the final panel shows him burning in Hell with the shirt on).
  • Technically speaking this isn't supposed to be possible in the universe of He Is a Good Boy, but hell if that'll stop Crange, the eponymous good boy, from doing so. The Devil gives him a million dollars for his soul, and Crange promptly spends a single dollar on a bottle of water for his tree and (inadvertently) gives away the rest to an orphanage. The whole thing leads to a squabble between God and the Devil over who gets to rightfully claim his soul. Crange, meanwhile, couldn't give less of a damn over the whole thing if he tried.
    Crange: What do you care if I just want, like, three bucks. You're getting my soul anyway, right?
    The Devil: We can't accept a soul for wealth exchange unless it's a certain number. It's gone up since the old days when shit was a penny. If this were the 1920's I'd gladly take your ass down for a five-spot. But thanks to inflation, we gotta take souls for a minimum of one million. Lotsa idiots willing to give it up for just a million.

    Web Original 
  • SCP Foundation: SCP-5721 is a (fictional) paragraph within the Terms of Service for the messaging software Discord that signs over the users' souls to the Greco-Roman goddess Eris, allowing her to drain users' Life Energy as a substitute for actual worship. "The majority of users who read the clause were found to have assumed it was a joke, as Discord is known for its humorous loading screens."
    • In SCP-738, a desk where anyone who sits can make a deal with the devil, Test 4 involved a mentally disabled test subject. The result was a contract where the test subject sold his favorite toy to the devil for a sloppy joe sandwich. After the test, an audible sigh was heard on the recording.

    Web Videos 
  • In the episode "Go To Hell" of Ross's Game Dungeon, Ross mentions a scheme where he and his buddy from his college's print shop would gave away free candy — all the receiver had to do was sign a contract giving one of them their soul. Apparently these contracts were valid because his friend worked at a notary office.
    Ross: Now, this strikes me as exactly the thing you don't do to go to Heaven, but I figured maybe I could trade these in for a nicer spot in Hell.
  • The Nostalgia Critic: In his review of The Cat in the Hat, The Critic is stuck babysitting Satan's daughter because he sold his soul for a good Zod impression.
  • Ultra Fast Pony: Rarity gives her soul to the demon Maud, and all she asks for in return is for Maud to pull a really petty prank against Rainbow Dash. Of course, this version of Rarity is such an over-the-top masochist, it would be totally in-character for her to want to end up in Hell anyway.

    Western Animation 
  • The Cuphead Show!: In "Sweater Off Dead" the only thing protecting Cuphead from the Devil claiming his soul is a special invisible sweater made by Mugman. At one point the Devil offers him ten dollars to take off the sweater and he's about to go do it until Mugman chides him that his soul is more than ten dollars. Cuphead agrees and asks for twenty dollars instead.
  • Family Guy: In "A Picture's Worth a Thousand Bucks", Peter says that he'd sell his soul to be famous. The Devil hears him and is eager to buy, but his assistant tells him that Peter already sold his soul in 1976 for Bee Gees tickets, and again in 1981 for half a Mallomar.
    The Devil: Ah heck. Where's a lawyer when I need one?
    [all the damned souls currently doing hard labor stop and raise their hands]
  • One episode of John Callahan's Quads! has Riley sell his soul to the Devil in exchange for curing his erectile dysfunction. Of course, this being Riley, he never even considers to ask for a cure for his quadriplegia as well.
  • In The Powerpuff Girls (2016) episode, "Our Brand Is Chaos", Bubbles and Buttercup are a dollar short to buy a bobsled they want. HIM offers to give them a dollar... at the expense of something precious they care about.
    HIM: Well, technically, they sold it for a dollar.
  • Rocko's Modern Life: In "Uniform Behavior", when Heffer arrives at Cafe Conglomo, he says he'd sell his soul for a soda. Lloyd the demon bartender appears and asks him, "What flavor, Heffer?", at which point Heffer orders a root beer float, only to regret it when he has visions of his friends telling him off for letting the power of his position go to his head.
  • The Simpsons:
    • "Treehouse of Horror IV" is the Trope Namer. In the segment "The Devil and Homer Simpson", Homer sells his soul to the Devil (played by Ned Flanders, of all people) for a donut. He tries to cheat the devil by not finishing it, but ends up going to Hell anyway because he accidentally ate the last of his donut while raiding the fridge for a late-night snack. Marge manages to get him out by presenting their marriage contract in which Homer offers his soul to her, meaning it wasn't his to sell in the first place.
    • "Treehouse of Horror V" has the ghost of Moe refuse to give Homer a beer until the latter kills his family first in "The Shinning" segment. Homer, who's already cracking from the lack of TV and beer in the hotel, readily agrees.
    • "Bart Sells His Soul": In an attempt to prove the soul doesn't exist, Bart writes "Bart Simpson's Soul" on a piece of paper and sells it to Milhouse for $5. Milhouse in turn trades it to the Comic Book Guy for ALF pogs. Bart, meanwhile, experiences some unusual happenings, apparently due to now being soulless, and spends the episode trying to retrieve the piece of paper.
    • "The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular" contains a clip cut from "Treehouse of Horror IV" where Bart says he'd sell his soul for a Formula 1 racecar. The Devil immediately appears and says he can arrange that, but Bart changes his mind.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In "Born Again Krabs", the Flying Dutchman bets SpongeBob that Mr. Krabs is so greedy he'd sell SpongeBob's soul for a couple of bucks. The Dutchman then offers Krabs all the change in his pocket—even clarifying when asked that it’s 62 cents—for SpongeBob's soul. Krabs accepts without hesitation. Even Squidward was disgusted by this.
    • In "Money Talks", Mr. Krabs sells his soul to the Flying Dutchman in exchange for the ability to talk to money. When Mr. Krabs' money talks him into spending them (specifically, on things he doesn't want, like corn dogs, fairy princess outfits, and diapers), Mr. Krabs tries to get his soul back from the Flying Dutchman, only for the Flying Dutchman to claim his soul anyway. The Flying Dutchman soon finds out that Mr. Krabs has already sold his soul to various monsters, as well as SpongeBob, who tells the Flying Dutchman that Mr. Krabs was five dollars short on his last payday.


Video Example(s):


Souls For Candy

In the episode "Go To Hell", Ross mentions a scheme where he and his buddy from his college's print shop would gave away free candy — all the receiver had to do was sign a contract giving one of them their soul. Apparently these contracts were valid because his friend worked at a notary office.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / SoldHisSoulForADonut

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