OFTEN, IN FAIRY TALES, the youngest son (sorry, most traditional tales are gender biased!), who is seen as a foolish dreamer by his older brothers, sets off to seek his fortune. Inspired by the chance to win a princess’s hand, he attempts an impossible task, one at which far wiser folk have failed. For instance, he might have to climb a glass mountain, travel to the home of the North Wind (try finding that on MapQuest!), or grab the single fish—from the whole wide sea—that has swallowed the princess’s precious pearl.
The thing is, this kid usually has no discernible skills. He’s not even that good at milking the cow or guarding the sheep. So how the heck is he going to unravel the 1000-mile long skein of enchanted gold thread that’s choking the king’s wheat field?
Welp. In addition to having luck on his side, he has a total disregard for his own lack of skill. He just gives it a go! What’ve I got to lose? is his motto. (Plus, he’s desperate. Anything’s better than staying at home and listening to his brothers’ taunts and jeers.)
You know the rest. Along the way, he finds magical helpers: The crone who offers him a walnut that, when cracked, releases a coach and four—or the billy goat that not only speaks English, but has the 4-1-1 on the in’s and out’s of the royal household! And, eventually, through wit (or the conspicuous lack of it), he wins the princess’s hand and her heart—he’s such a lovable goofball, after all.
The point here (at least for this prompt) is that the kid jumps right off the cliff of reason into action. Improbable action. Action for which he is (seemingly) totally unprepared! And in doing so, looks dead set to prove his smug brothers right. But, foolish though this hero may be, he prevails. Yup. The universe rewards his chutzpah by sending flocks of flying fish to carry him unthinkable distances so he can accomplish the unreasonable task(s) set before him and win the prize he seeks—thus changing his fortunes forever.
Tarot writing prompt
Write about a time in your own life (or that of a character) in which a seriously foolish and/or impulsive action ended surprisingly well. Make good use of words like “impossible,” “unlikely,” “unprepared,” “chance,” and “luck.” And throw in a magical helper or two for good measure. (Hint: Entire novels have been based on just such a premise. You know. In case you were looking for a premise upon which to base an entire novel.)
This writing prompt was inspired by the wild child of the tarot, The Fool.