After he forded the stream, the Fool looked back once to see the angel once again focused on the items in hand. He shrugged his shoulders. Nothing could be as bad as Death had been. So he set a brisk pace with his trusty little dog by his side.
The scenery of the open road changed. The trees grew sparse. Dirt beneath his feet gave way to cobblestones.
“I think we must be coming to a town, dog.” The dog gave a short, sharp yip in response.
Then he saw it. Perched on a black pillar, a hideous beast glared at him. In one hand he held a flaming torch. The other was raised as if in greeting. But on his palm were markings but the Fool didn’t know them. He stared at them another minute then shook his head. He felt frozen in his tracks.
“Come, little fool,” The big creature bellowed at him. “Do you want everything you’ve ever dreamed of? I can give you all that you desire.”
The Fool thought that sounded pretty good, but the creature still terrified him. With ram’s horns jutting from the top of his red face, the creature didn’t look human. His ears rose up like a jackass and even had the fur of one. He had a long beard as well.
“May I ask you some questions first, please?” The Fool moved a bit closer but stayed out of reach. Then he saw them.
A man and a woman chained to the pedestal on which the beast perched. “Who are you?”
The woman answered, “I am lust and he is greed. We used to be human like you, but we let our base needs overrule our intelligence. These horns we wear mark us as the devil’s playthings. He uses us to entrap others.”
The Devil, for that is who it was, roared with laughter as he set the man’s tail on fire. The Fool shrieked as he leapt back. “Why did you do that?”
“Because I can. They did not care about themselves and allowed me to do what I wanted with their bodies as long as they got what they wanted. They were so concerned with pleasure and indulgence and satisfying those physical itches,” the Devil winked “that they didn’t care what they gave away.”
A tear rolled down the man’s cheek. “I lost my wife, my children, my home, my job…even my own little dog. Don’t give into the temptations of the Devil. Stay strong.”
The Fool scooped his dog up. “Mr. Devil, sir, is there nothing good about you?”
The Devil stretched out one giant bat wing then the other as he considered the question. “Wellllll, I suppose there is one good thing. When you turn me over, this pentagram on my head is also inverted and then you can see how intellect can overcome bodily impulses. Also, sometimes giving in to temptation in a controlled way is okay.”
Mulling this over, the Fool nodded. “I can see that. By the way, do you know about the Will the Magician said I should find?”
The Devil claimed that he did but the Fool didn’t want to take the man’s place in the chains in order to learn. Instead he bid the creature a hasty goodbye as he set his feet back on the path.
“Oh what is next, little dog? I don’t want to go forward but I’m more afraid to go back.” The Fool began to wish he’d never undertaken this journey.
To be continued…
- A look back at where the Fool’s been
- Fool Meets The Magician(1) And The High Priestess(2)
- The Fool Meets the Empress(3) and the Emperor(4)
- The Fool Meets the Hierophant(5)
- The Fool Meets the Lovers(6) & The Chariot(7)
- The Fool Meets Strength(8)
- The Fool Meets the Hermit(9)
- The Fool Meets The Wheel Of Fortune(10)
- The Fool Meets Justice(11)
- The Fool Meets The Hanged Man(12)
- The Fool Meets Death(13)
- The Fool Meets Temperance(14)