Cap and Bells: The Journey of the Fool



The jester walked in the garden:
The garden had fallen still;
He bade his soul rise upward
And stand on her windowsill.

In the Tarot deck The Fool is often depicted on a journey wearing rags with only a knapsack happily unaware of the cliff he is about to fall off. Jacquemin Gringonneur’s fourteen-century deck for Charles VI shows a jester who although he has lost his pants and is being teased by children is still smiling. The Fool card urges us to follow our dreams despite our fears. Frans Hals (1580 –1666) the Dutch Baroque artist painted the fool as a court entertainer in Jester with a Lute. In the 1955 movie The Court Jester, Danny Kaye plays a hapless medieval performer “A jester unemployed is nobody's fool”. The fool continued to amuse us in the form of the Italian Harlequin whose motley costume is reminiscent of rags as in Paul Cézanne’s painting Harlequin of 1888.

I've cap and bells,' he pondered,
'I will send them to her and die.'
And as soon as the morn had whitened
He left them where she went by.
W.B. Yeats