Welcome, friends, to the first trump of Tarocchino Arlecchino. Here I am, blogging in the hopes that I won’t have to spend a month writing a “book” if I want to publish this deck!
How did Harlequin get his name? One theory links him to King Herla who, like so many others, was hoodwinked in by dwarfs in Fairyland and condemned to wander the world, not quite living but not dying. Returning a favor, Herla brought a procession of noblemen to attend a dwarf-king’s wedding party. For their trouble, they received all sorts of gifts, including a small bloodhound. The fairy warned the group never to dismount until this bloodhound jumped down (as you would expect, anyone who disobeyed was promptly turned to dust). The excitement of the great gifts wore off quickly when Herla and company emerged from the cavern of dwarf-land to find that centuries had passed, everyone they had known was dead, and what’s more, the bloodhound refused to jump down. Their procession roves the countryside as the bone-rattling Wild Hunt. (Read a more detailed retelling at Folklore Thursday.)
So, this legendary King appears as the Emperor in Tarocchino Arlecchino, with tiny bloodhound in hand.
Etteilla changed IV The Emperor into No. 7 The Birds and the Fishes. But, the keywords of SUPPORT (upright) and PROTECTION (reversed) apply just as well to the Emperor.
In the realm of Harlquin, Herla-king seems like a pretty steady guy. He’s not here to cause mischief, all he wanted to do was be there for his fellow king the dwarf. It’s not his fault that he’s become a terrific specter.
Keywords (translated from Julia Orsini)
Upright: support, backing, holding up, column, base, foundation, basis, founding principles, hypothesis, reason, cause, subject, fixity, stability, assurance, persuasion, conviction, security, reliability, certainty, confidence, help, assistance, aid
Reversed: protection, defense, assistance, aid, help, influence, benevolence, benefaction, charity, humaneness, goodness, commiseration, kindness, pity, compassion, permission