I was going to bring this back on Wednesdays, and it may very well fall on that day of the week once I get back in the swing here, but for today and for your coming week, I’ve got a card for you today. I had enjoyed working with Lisa Hunt’s Fairy Tale Tarot a great deal and I know some of you were enjoying learning from it, so we’re going to get this started again as a once a week thing. I hope you all enjoy it. This week the card that comes out for us is…
The Three Animal Kings
The story is one of my favorites that I discovered through this deck but it’s also one that I have not been able to find any information on, so I am assuming that it has another name somewhere in time. According the Lisa’s companion book it is a tale that comes to us from Italy. Here is a summary of the story.
Three princesses of Green Bank fall in love with three princes from Fair Meadow. When the princes were babies they were cursed and turned into animals; one was a falcon, one was a stag and the other a dolphin. Because of their form and animalistic ways the King of Green Bank refused to let his daughters marry the princes of Fair Meadow.
Upon discovering this the princes decided to cause problems for the King in hopes that he would change his mind. The falcon called on the winged creatures to swoop down and destroy the King’s flowers; the stag called the rabbits and mice to come and destroy to cornfields; the dolphin called on the creatures of the sea to cause problems in the harbor. The King realized he’d been bested and agreed to let his daughters go with the princes. In doing so the Queen gave each daughter a special ring so that should they ever become separated they would be able to identify one another.
Shortly after the princesses depart the Queen gives birth to a son named Tittone. Tittone hears many tales of his sisters as he grows up and one day he decides to venture out to find them. Before leaving the Queen gives him a right like the one his sisters have so that they would know each other when they saw one another.
Tittone goes to meet each of his sisters and each of his bother-in-laws and find himself surrounded by love and hospitality by all. Before departing each couple, he is given a gift, a feather from the falcon, a hair from the stag and a scale from the dolphin. Each tells him that should he ever find himself in trouble and in need of their aid to throw the item to the ground and yell “Come hither!”
As he is journeying back home Tittone finds himself engulfed in a thick fog. Suddenly he sees a tower rise in the fog and a maiden in the tower calls down to him asking for rescue. She says she’s been trapped by a dragon who means her harm and she will surly die is he doesn’t rescue her. Tittone takes the gifts he was given, the feather, hair and scale, and throws them to the ground and yells “Come hither”! Suddenly his bother-in-laws appear to help. The falcon calls on the griffins to bring the maiden down from the tower window and she lands on the ground safely. The noise wakes the dragon and the stag calls on the wild beasts of the forest to come and ravish the dragon, clawing him to death. The dolphin then calls on the seas to come and flood the tower, sinking it forever.
The maiden is grateful and tells the three brothers that she has been the key to breaking their curse. She is a woman of high standing, she says, and because they saved her the curse will be broken and they will become human again. The princes are turned back into men again and soon they are reunited with their wives. The couples together board a carriage that drives down a sun-drenched path to a mountain inn where they rejoiced in their triumph and new found joy. In the morning the couples emerged from the inn, hand in hand, stepping into the bright sun of the new day to journey into their new, happy lives.
Lisa’s description of the symbolism is lovely.
The sun represents the center of the life force and enlightenment with it’s power to nourish and illuminate body and soul.
The stone steps represent the solid foundation which their dreams are built on.
The trees have strong roots that are firmly affixed to the trail while their branches keep reaching upward and outward.
There are aspects of transition and shapeshifting in the images in the card. If you look closely you’ll see the falcon, stag and dolphin among the trees.
The dolphin represents transformation, the deer love and purity, the eagle strength.
The castle in the distance represents the attainment of our dreams being within reach and a wholeness it will bring.
The message of the card itself is that no matter what may stand in your path, if we remain firm and resolved, we can succeed. Change and transition is a constant so we must flow with it and our dreams will become easier to see and reach if we don’t resist. Celebrate your successes too! Don’t let them become just another part of the journey to something else; each joy and triumph needs to be honored before moving on to the next to really embrace what you have. Each one brings you closer to enlightenment. Each step brings you closer to your own day in the sun.