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Master_Margarita  Master_Margarita is offline
Join Date: 01 Oct 2007
Location: Samsara Central
Posts: 2,040
Fairytale Tarot (MRP) -- Page of Coins

The Page of Coins is represented in this deck by the tale of The Tinder Box. The link at the MRP website for this deck leads to the wrong story (oops!). There are a number of versions of this story, so I'm offering the beautiful Hans Christian Andersen rendering here. (I associate HCA with the most unbearably heartrending tales--Little Match Girl, Little Mermaid, Steadfast Tin Soldier--so it is nice to read a story of his that is more lighthearted than the usual. I would never give my children an entire book of HCA tales to read. It would be too much at once.)

The tale of the Tinder Box reminds me very strongly of the main character in George Bernard Shaw's Arms and the Man, so much so that I wonder if GBS was inspired by the story.

In either case, the story is all about practicality and taking advantages of opportunities that are presented to one rather than sighing over the unattainable. This applies to the old soldier, the princess, and perhaps even the old witch (although her attempt to take advantage of the opportunity represented by the old soldier backfires on her badly). There is also a message in this story, and thus in this card, about treating everyone as your equal. The old soldier is equally polite to, and equally unimpressed by, witches and royalty (oh, gosh, here comes another literary reference--Rudyard Kipling's "If," also from around the Shaw era).

Interestingly, the image on the card illustrating the story comes from the beginning of the story, when the soldier (standing in as the Page) is retrieving the gold. The eponymous tinder box isn't shown anywhere on the card, which I think is unfortunate. The card's symbolism would have been improved a bit by showing the tinder box tucked away somewhere or even in his pocket. Also missing are any candles and the witch's blue apron, which would have been appropriate to the story as well, and would not have weakened the design. Oh well.

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