Thursday, April 1, 2021

Tarot Tales: A is for Adjustment (Justice)

Welcome to the 2021 A to Z Blogging Challenge! My theme this year is Tarot Tales. I am making a selection of folktales, legends, and other traditional stories that correspond to tarot cards. Storytelling and tarot go well together. Do other stories come to mind? Let me know in the comments!

The card: Justice (a.k.a. Adjustment)

Meanings: Justice (obviously), fairness, law. Making impartial and objective decisions, finding the truth, staying true to your principles. It also symbolizes critical thinking and responsible action. 

Selection process: Justice and fairness is one of the staple motifs of folktales, so there was a lot to choose from. One thing I wanted to pay attention to was that in the RWS card the figure is usually a woman, so I wanted to find a tale where justice is upheld by a woman. 

The story: Princess Learned-in-the-Law

Origin: Myanmar

A clever and well-educated princess' necklace disappears while she is bathing in the garden. The guards accuse the old gardener, and bully him into an admission of guilt. The princess, however, suspects that something is wrong. She listens to the trial from behind the scenes, while the gardener and various courtiers accuse each other of theft to shift the blame. Eventually the princess devises a clever test to find out the truth: the necklace had been stolen by monkeys. She collects a bunch of monkeys, gives them fake jewelry, and sets them free. The monkey that stole the pearls brings them out from their hiding place to show them off to her companions, and the princess manages to recover the necklace, proving the old gardener's innocence. In the end, the gardener is redeemed, but the courtiers are exiled for dishonesty. 
(Princess Learned-in-the-Law is a recurring character in the folklore of Myanmar, famous for making clever judgments.)

Sources & notes: Read it in this book. There is also an entire book of Princess-Learned-in-the-Law tales!  

Runner-up: Catherine, Sly Country Lass (Italy). A classic Clever Maiden story (ATU 875), where a wise queen steps up when her husband makes an unjust decision, and proves he has been wrong.

Do you have a favorite Justice card, or a tale about wise judgment? Tell me in the comments!


  1. Hari OM
    A new version of the card for me and one I Appreciate! For justice I may more have thought of Adjudication - although the princess also Adjusted the thinking of the earlier Accusers... Looking forward to more of your cards! YAM xx

  2. I'm not very familiar with tarot cards, so your post is very instructive to me! Another great Challenge theme ;)
    Quilting Patchwork & Appliqué - A = Abat-jour/Lampshade

  3. This is all new to me, and looking forward to reading more stories and learning about the cards. Great theme. If in doubt, always blame the monkeys!

  4. I've always loved reading your April posts. Clever princess--Justice was done:)

  5. When I think of Justice I like to think of two images.

    The arc [as in the "Arc of the world moves slowly but it moves towards justice]

    and the grinding mill and how it dispenses justice. In a tarot way the Wheel of Fortune? [and how fortune interacts with justice] [but doesn't guarantee it].

    Iain Kelly: yes - monkeys do get up to all sorts of mischief.

    Someone might mention Solomon and the mothers. I am so happy the baby stayed whole.

    Adelaide @ Halfway up Rysy Peak

  6. Wonderful story, new twist on that card


  7. What an interesting way to connect the card theme with the folktale! And nice to see the wise princess figure out the real thief.

  8. You know? I never really saw it. That Justice is almost always represented by a woman. Maybe because in my language (Italian) 'justice' is a female noun (so to me, of course it will be a woman, if you know what I mean).
    It's kind of interesting.

    The Old Shelter - The Great War

  9. Love your theme and I love that a woman represents justice. It's interesting when you think of the current problems in Myanmar and that in their folk tales a woman is the wise one.

  10. I love it. I have been reading a lot of botanical lore and I find that many flowers are connected to the tale of a woman who is wronged. I suppose it is a strong statement to have a woman, who is historically the one taken advantage of, to be the symbol of justice.

  11. I'm going to consider your A-Z a primer on Tarot. Excellent that the deck has such a card.

  12. I love this theme! While I'm quite familiar with tarot, I'm really going to appreciate hearing what tale you connect with the cards. This one is great - a clever and discerning woman always captures my fancy.

  13. A very clever princess. I can see a monkey stealing a necklace. Or anything I guess. I'm glad I don't live where there are monkey thieves! As for the card, there is the Lady Justice throughout history, and the ancient Romans had a goddess for Justice. Are women more devoted to fairness? I don't think so!

  14. A lovely tale. I love folk tales, but I never read this one before.

  15. I just can't get over the part that the monkeys stole the necklace :)

  16. Wow! I enjoy tarot readings from a friend every so often. The story behind them is very fascinating. Justice is a cause close to my heart, so this was interesting to learn about!

  17. Such a wise princess. Enjoyed the story behind the tarot card and learned that one of the staple motifs of folktales is justice and fairness. Monkeys!

  18. Hi again! Great story! I have really enjoyed your AtoZs in the past, and I'm back this year with a new website to participate. No more dragon artwork, but instead I'm writing about my recent move across the country from MN to FL. Can't wait to read more of your work on the Tarot!

    Jamie Lyn Weigt | St. Paul 2 St. Pete | AtoZ 2021: A is for Apartment Hunting

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  20. I knew this was going be a good one and I am not disappointed. Can't wait to read more.

    Tim Brannan, 2021: The A to Z of Monsters

  21. Such an entertaining way to tell the meanings of the Tarot cards. It’s a good feeling when justice prevails. Maybe that’s why I like watching British crime dramas on TV.

  22. I want to know the deck you are using! Great start!

    1. The decks above, from left to right:
      Destiny Tarot
      Silhouettes Tarot
      Light Seer's Tarot
      Shadowscapes Tarot
      Telluric Tarot (this one is actually my favorite deck)

  23. What an interesting history of the justice card. Weekends In Maine

  24. That's a really clever way of finding out the guilty party!

  25. I love the word play of Adjustment for Justice. Thanks for sharing the story of ... monkey business also. Made me grin and feel that satisfaction feeling as well.
    Anne from

  26. I like the story of Princess Learned-in-the-Law. Great post thanks for sharing.