The trickster is an important figure in folklore. Taking such forms as the Joker or Coyote, he embodies cleverness and wit, but also deceit and irresponsibility. He appears to provide comic relief as a jester or clown, but also to humble us, never allowing us to become too full of ourselves. Like a zen koan he makes us think in new ways about ourselves and our motivations. His mischief is most harmful when we take ourselves too seriously, but is neutralized when we learn to laugh at ourselves with sincere pleasure.