A Quick Peek Into The Fascinating World Of Playing Cards Or What's In A Deck
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A Quick Peek Into The Fascinating World Of Playing Cards Or What's In A Deck

A description of a thoughtful souvenir from England.

I was given a gift that was purchased outside of the Tower of London.  The gift was a deck of playing cards made in Belgium. 

I now possess a history of the famous kings and queens of England in my deck of playing cards.  Each card has a full color portrait of one of the monarchs of England from Alfred the Great to our present Queen Elizabeth II. These cards afford me the luxury of increasing my knowledge of what the English, themselves, know just by being born there.  For example, the front of the ace of diamonds is a portrait in color of a blonde in knee high dress holding up his left arm and waving.I now know from looking at his card that he was King from 871 to 899.  He is, obviously, Alfred the Great. 

These cards are marvelous as travelling entertainment and can be discreetly carried on board plane or ship to spend endless hours in occupying one’s mind.  Cards were designed to entertain and to attract spirited imps who seem to be drawn to cards with historical or societal imprints.  Playing cards with a deck of 52 were used to play games like gin rummy, poker and solitaire.  When solitaire became secondary to its original purpose of telling the future through the fall of the cards on designated cards is quite interesting.  The evolution of having ones cards read by a fortune teller would be a fascinating subject for a book.  It would be interesting to know if playing cards were designed by fortune tellers to help them to predict the future.  It would be equally interesting to know if playing cards were designed by the kings counselors like the imaginary Merlin to help the king to predict the future.  It would also be interesting to know when kings and queens stopped using fortune tellers or seers as counselors.  My royal deck of cards has afforded me immeasurable hours of sheer pleasure. 

Many learned men of the Dark Ages spent countless hours designing the fronts of cards to be given as gifts.  Travelling with your own deck of cards is a simple way of keeping oneself entertained on long journeys.  Buying a friend a deck of cards from the places that you visit is a souvenir your friend is sure to keep. 

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