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

The tale of Yu-Kong and the Demon has almost stumped me. The companion book describes this as a traditional Chinese tale. It may well be, but there are no versions in translation posted to the web that I could locate. I searched for "Yukong" as well as "Yu-Kong" and for "Dragon" as well as "Demon."

Yu-Kong is a young aspirant for the post of captain of the Imperial Bodyguard in ancient China. He wins the competition, but his rival (E-Shen) believes he cheated, so Yu-Kong modestly declines the post.

E-Shen is in fact a demon, and has developed a hatred for the young man. He sets up a career as a fortune-teller predicting the day of people's deaths. He predicts the death of Yu-Kong's servant, who dies.

Yu-Kong's sensible and practical reaction to this is to go out and buy the best sword he can find. He comes home and battles the demon in a series of guises. Yu-Kong battles and eventually prevails over every guise of the demon. The crowd cheers and Yu-Kong is at last made captain of the Imperial Bodyguard (obviously well-qualified).

The sword-y essence of this story, and the moment that captures the essence of the Ace in my mind, is when Yu-Kong goes out and buys that sword. That is the new beginning, the seizing of an opportunity to use the intellect. Of course, that's not a moment of high drama, so that's not the image on the card. The image on the card is the climax of the battle with the demon. It makes for better art, but we know how Yu-Kong got to that point.

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