Friday, April 30, 2021

Tarot Tales: Z is for Zero (the Fool)

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!

This is the last day of this year's A to Z Challenge - and, fittingly, we are closing this theme with the very first card of the Major Arcana!

The card: The Fool

Meanings: If you see the 22 cards of the Major Arcana as a continuous story, the Fool is the character who sets out on the quest. The Fool is about beginnings, jumping in with both feet, setting out on a journey with no expectations, come what may. The Fool is spontaneous and free, full of potential. deliberately stepping (not falling!) off a cliff. They are still innocent, trustful, and optimistic, and they love having fun. They have a lot to learn, but they are sure it will all work out in the end.

Selection process: I already knew which folk character I would choose for this card before I even started the challenge.

The story: Jack seeks his fortune

Origin: Appalachia

Jack is the main hero of hundreds of Appalachian folktales, transported from Great Britain and Ireland over the centuries. You probably know him from the beanstalk story, but as a trickster-fool-hero, he also appears in many other tales in many ways. My personal favorites are Lady Featherflight (where Jack takes up service with an evil giant), and Jack and the Varmints. The latter has several variants, all of which are part of the Valiant Little Tailor tale type (ATU 1640). Jack kills seven flies with one slap, and he thinks himself such a great hero that he starts advertising he can "kill seven at a whack." The King immediately hires him to get rid of various beasts prowling his forests: a giant boar, a vicious unicorn (!), and a man-eating lion. Jack takes up the job, then tries to get out of it, gets into all kinds of trouble, but his luck always holds out and he manages to defeat the beasts in hilarious ways.
Jack is not a fool because he is dumb, although he does dumb things sometimes. He is actually fairly clever - but also easygoing enough to set out into the world again and again to seek his fortune. And the rest is history. 

Sources & notes: Read Richard Chase's classic collection of Jack tales here, and Donald Davis' Jack tales here. There are also many other books to pick from. 

We have circled back to the beginning, and that's the end of this year's A to Z of Tarot Tales. Thank you all for visiting, commenting, and cheering me on! See you on Monday for Reflections!


  1. I guess this is why we do not pity the fool :)

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  3. I enjoyed all your A to Z posts this year, as in past years! I like the Fool, no expectations, optimistic, and trustful. And, things turn out okay.

  4. Wow, somehow I never put all those Jack stories together before with the Fool and of course the Jack. I love a loveable rogue! Great choice to end at the start!

    Anne from

  5. I so feel like I'm intentionally stepping off a cliff some days...

    Ronel visiting for the A-Z Challenge with an A-Z of Faerie: Zipping Sprites

  6. Coming full circle with zero is perfect. I love Fool, and Jack is a great choice. I've thoroughly enjoyed this series - thank you!

  7. I had no idea Jack appeared in anything other than the Beanstalk story. A very interesting end to an excellent month of informative posts. Well done on getting to the end :-)

  8. Never thought I'd say this, but looks like I am a bit of a fool (proudly so!) Thanks for sharing a month's worth of entertaining and educational information. And congratulations on finishing AtoZChallenge2021.

  9. One of the recurring characters in Russian fairy tales is Ivan the Fool. He always succeeds in his impossible tasks, and more often than not becomes a prince in the end, but his success is a result of his kindness and ingenuity, never his prowess in battle.
    Congrats on finishing this years' challenge.

  10. I loved your posts and I'm happy to know better the cards. Thank you!
    Congratulations on completing the challenge too 😉

  11. Comment: In the coast of Peru there is this stoy and I think it has to do with the Jack series. It is almost unique. There is another one but in very shortsketches. The text: Sebastian de la Gracia is a Peruvian folk tale that has the Jack outline. He is the eldest of two brothers’ sons of a local farmer. He is lazy or just does not like to work the land. He likes to play the guitar and is a musician. He steals his father’s vegetables and sells them locally just for a song. He is very good in arranging parties and feasts. He is a very agreeable fellow on the whole but... His father runs him from home and his mother’s gives him her blessing, a knife and bandana.
    Then he meets some birds of prey that are trying to distribute among themselves a dead bull. Each of the birds gives him a feather and tell him that maybe they will be of use to him later.
    After he meets a young woman, who is a princess, who has been abducted by a giant. He kills the giants who eats human flesh
    Then he tells the girl to drink the blood of the giants so that the enchantment will stop on her. This she does. After that they go to the village to get married. The king, his father is very glad and blesses the marriage.
    Entering the church, a witch crone puts a red carnation in the left pocket of his coat. When the priest is going to give them the marriage blessing, Sebastian throws up blood. The fiancé gets very angry and says he is dirty and q will not marry him.
    He tries to argue with her but she tells him to search for her in the whereabouts of the Three Towers of Gold. After that she is converted into a dove and flies away.
    Sebastian acknowledges the witches’ trick when he finds the red carnation and says he is going to find the princess and marry her.
    He walks and meets an old woman in a hut. She does not where the towers are but d say maybe one of the sons and daughter would know. But she has to hide him in barrel, because they a eat human flesh. The first one, the Moon, does not know. The second time he is hidden in another part of the house and so the third. Each one is persuaded not to eat human flesh because he is their brother.
    Ay t lasts an eagle comes at midday and is very hungry and says the she knows a marriage with take place there at three o Clock. The eagle takes Sebastian de la Gracia on her back and they travel quickly. She gets hungry and Sebastian gives her and arm and recovers the arm by way of one of the feathers the birds gave him. the puts one of the save d feather and the arm is restored. And so with the other arms and legs.
    At last they arrive to the three towers of gold. He tells the princess who he is. She recognizes him and they return to get married…
    Y colorin colorado este cuento se ha acabado.

  12. Well done! you've completed A to Z successfully.

  13. Truly enjoyed your wander through all the characters in the Tarot. Congrats on another year completed!

  14. Thanks for sharing a great article.
    You are providing wonderful information, it is very useful to us.
    Keep posting like this informative articles.
    Thank you.

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  15. As always, I enjoyed your A to Z this year. thanks for introducing so many new and interesting characters.
    Black and White: Z for Zerzura