Tarot Tales

Tarot Tales: Mrs Ten Has A Shock


A new instalment by Scorpio – a new adventure which both gives a beautiful insight to the traits and personalities of tarot cards and we look at topical issues that circle us all at this time of the year!

“I don’t understand,” said Mrs Ten Pentacles.  “It says here European Studies at Kent.”  “Yes, mother,” replied Ten Pentacles Junior, a touch nervously.  He always disliked standing up to his mother.  “That’s what I’m going to do.”  “But you can’t,” replied his mother, “I’ve told everyone you’re going to Oxford.  Our family always goes to Oxford.  And besides, what use are European Studies if we lea….”  “People who speak French and Spanish will still be there whatever happens to us here” cut in her son.  “It’s what I want to do.”  “But people think you’re going to Oxford, I’ve already told them,” insisted Mrs Ten Pentacles.  She paused.  “You went for an interview there.”  “No, mother, I went to Oxford with Seven Swords for his interview.  For some reason he felt nervous going alone.  I walked with him to the interview place and then hung around till he came out.  He was perfectly all right, of course.”  “You mean young Seven Swords is going to Oxford and you aren’t?” almost shrieked his mother. 

youthful 10, defies the family tradition (and his mother!)

“Manchester here I come,” said the Page of Swords, waving his phone at his parents.  “Congratulations,” said the King.  “You must have actually read the questions before rushing to answer them.  That must be a first!”  The Page pulled a face at his father.  “That’s good,” said the Queen,  “Manchester’s very good for your subject, and you’ll have to stand on your own feet as we’ll be too far away to come to the rescue.”  She smiled at her son.  “By the way, have you heard that Ten Pentacles Junior has defied his mother and is going to the university he wants to go to?”  “I thought he was going to Oxford,” said the King.  “His mother told everyone he was going to Oxford,” said the Queen,  “she just didn’t know he hadn’t applied.  She can be such a snob at times.”  “Oh,” said the Page, “we all knew what he was doing, we just kept quiet about it.”  “If you managed to keep quiet about something, especially something like that,” said the King, “it must be another first!”

“No, really, Mum, we’ve been over all this before.”  Mrs Five Pentacles’s daughter stroked her mother’s hand.  “I’ve got the course I want, I can stay here and help you with the dress-making and stuff, and we won’t have to fuss about where I live.”  “As long as you’re happy,” said Mrs Five Pentacles.  “It’s just that your friends are all leaving home and going to different places ….”  “Well, people not from round here will be coming to Uni here so I’ll meet different people anyway, …. honestly, Mum, you don’t have to worry I’m missing out.”  “Oh, look at the time,” said Mrs Five Pentacles.  “Mrs Ten Pentacles will be round at 6 to collect her dinner gown and I still need to add some finishing touches.  Don’t know what’s wrong with her, she had a face like thunder when I saw her in town earlier.”  “Didn’t you hear?” asked her daughter.  “Her son isn’t going to Oxford, he didn’t want to, he applied somewhere else and didn’t tell her.  We all knew at school …..”

5 of Pentacles daughter eases her mothers anxiety

All of them?”  The Queen of Wands sat down on one end of the sofa with such a “whoompf” that the cat dozing at the other end was airborne and took glaring refuge under the sideboard.  The Page of Wands nodded.  “You don’t look at all sorry,” said his mother.  “What are you going to do?  And what were you doing all that time you were supposed to be revising?”  “Planning a journey, making some money” said the Page.  “I hope the money-making was legal, you’re only just eighteen.”  There was a pause. “You did sit the exams?” asked the Queen.  “You never bunked off??” she added, seeing a slightly shifty expression on her son’s face.  “I answered the questions I could answer,” said the Page offhandedly, “and left the ones I couldn’t.  I want to travel, I’ve made a plan, and we leave on Monday.”  “Don’t expect your father and me to sub you,” said the Queen sharply, then, “You said “we” ……”  “The bro and I are going on his bike…. we plan to be away for a year.  We’ve been making money online one way and another, so we’ll manage.  I’m going to the University of Life Overseas.”  “Hmmmph!” snorted the Queen of Wands.  “At least I’m not the only parent whose child isn’t going to do what his parents thought he was going to do.” 

Meanwhile, the students at Pentacle Manor Conference and Training Centre had received their Further Education classifications.  Two had been outstanding and were going to be taken on permanently at the  Conference Centre.  Others had achieved good results and would be able to take up the positions for which they had applied earlier.  “Very satisfactory,” said the Queen.  “Just a pity about Those Two,” said the King.  “We can provide certificates of attendance, of course, and references, but ….. well, it’s just that they wouldn’t apply themselves.” There was a tap at the office door.  “Those Two” walked in, looking rather pleased with themselves.  The King and Queen looked a question at the two  young Pentacles.  “You know that new upmarket “Directors’ Kitchen” sandwich place opening here soon? 

Training centre intrigues

Well, we went in and explained we hadn’t got good grades, but that we had done the Food Hygiene and Health and Safety courses here and other catering things here, and they were delighted.  So thank you, we have learned something, and we are going to be sandwich kings, at least for now.  Can you give us references?”  “That’s good,” said the Queen of Pentacles, “and you won’t have to make bread, or pouring egg custard …” she mentioned two of their more spectacular disasters, with a smile, “ ….and of course we will provide references when they ask us.”  The two Pentacles each gave a little bow to the King and Queen and left the room.  “What a surprise those two were,” said the King.  “I didn’t think they had the initiative to sort themselves out.”  “You never can tell,” said the Queen.  “Sometimes failures surprise us – and do well ….. and by the way, I suppose you’ve heard about young Ten Pentacles…..his mother must be mortified, but good on him for doing what he wants.”

Mrs Ten Pentacles knocked at the door of the Five Pentacles’s house.  “Would you like to try the dress before you take it away?” asked the daughter.  “Probably as well.”  She led the way to her mother’s workroom.  The dress was satisfactory and, as it was being packed in tissue paper, Mrs Ten Pentacles asked, “What will you be doing in September, Dear?”  “I’m doing Teacher Training for primary school, at the local Uni.”  “Eeouw, really?” asked Mrs Ten Pentacles forcing a taut smile. “How clever of you, Dear, especially …..” she bit her  tongue.  “I hope it goes well for you,” she managed and left.  “Especially with a father in prison,” said Mrs Five Pentacles,  “But thank you for not saying it, she’s a good customer, and brings me lots of contacts.”

Sulky Queen

Mrs Ten Pentacles reached home feeling sulky.  Everyone had done well except her son.  And he’d gone against her wishes.  If people found out she’d look foolish.  She just hoped they wouldn’t.  She poured a glass of organic elderflower pressé and stared at it moodily.  The clicking of claws on the hard floor heralded the arrival of Grandfather Pentacles’s dog, followed by Grandfather himself.  “Decima, you do get yourself in an awkward place with all this showing off.  Everyone knew the boy had applied to Kent, they all knew he didn’t want Oxford, but you were pushing him.”  “It’s a tradition in this family to go to Oxford, now he’s broken the tradition.  I am very upset.” 

Mrs Ten Pentacles swallowed some pressé and glared at her father and her son.  “So everyone knew except me?  So that means they’re all laughing at me behind my back?”

Grandfather and Junior both nodded.

(c) Lucy Voss

September 2019

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