A bag of rice

Jesters and jester types were regularly rewarded by the king or other head honcho for their services.  In addition to accounts of such gifts and...

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A fool in fur-lined cloaks

European court account books yield rich details concerning the kind of clothes provided to fools and jesters. They also provide insights into the...

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The Sultan’s jester

Physical deformity was in many times and places a positive asset in a jester, as this example from the 1001 Nights demonstrates. In other contexts,...

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Jester takes the throne

A recurrent theme in the fool-king relationship is that of role-swapping, more formally known as 'inversion'. Fools, jesters, clowns, are often said...

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Time to choose a new chief

The court jester often has a certain closeness to the boss he serves, challenging them, criticizing them, but not normally getting them chucked out....

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So who was asking for him?

Some of the most startling examples of a jester's being impudent to the point of lèse-majesté can be found in anecdotes concerning Emperor...

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Pillow talk

One of the most famous jesters is Talhak, whose name may be derived from, or have spawned, the Persian word for jester (dalqak).  He is...

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On madness, feigned or real

It was a happy moment to discover this first hand account of a 10th century 'wise fool', Sībawayh the Egyptian (897-98 - 968-69 / 284-358). I am...

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How far back can we go?

The first specific reference we have (so far) to what might be a jester concerns a dwarf or a pygmy in ancient Egypt during the reign of Neferkere...

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I am a jester

As far as we know, the first Chinese jester on (available) record is Jester Shi (You Shi) who served Duke Xian during the reign of King Huiwang (r....

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The pits (II)

Another example of Tenali Rama's quick-witted defiance. He is said to have served King Krsnadevaraya (r. 1509-1529), though in all probability was a...

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When I was melancholy

Attributed to the Mughal Emperor Akbar (r. 1556-1605), expressing his sorrow at the death of Birbal, the poet and courtier whose wit made him morph...

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The pits (I)

A vivid example of a jester's talking his way out of imminent execution after overstepping the mark. Sometimes, even jesters went too far and got...

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Bum revolutionaries

Delighted to encounter these bum revolutionaries, the Jewish jesters who flourished in Eastern Europe, entertaining people at weddings and...

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Mirth to the mind

When was the last time somebody brought you such a gift?  A charming rhapsody, by the Chinese writer Sima Xiangru (ca. 179-117 BC), showing jesters...

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Staying alive

Another example of a jester feigning death, in this case to reveal - or expose - the intentions of the king which Tenali Rama may have suspected...

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Laughter’s master

This wistful, affectionate phrase come from Feng Menglong's preface to the Expanded Treasury of Laughter. Among other aspects of fools, we are...

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Part of the pabulum

This expansive quotation comes from the Preface to the Expanded Treasury of Laughter by Feng Menglong (1574-1646). I love its tumbling cascade of...

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We have lift-off!

What better way to launch foolsareeverywhere.com than scientific evidence of their central role on earth and beyond. NASA has cleverly realised that...

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Of humour and proportion

This, in a delightful travelogue in 1930s Romania, caught my eye as a pithy and original definition of humour.  I now keep it in mind as I re-visit...

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Fools are everywhere

Fools are everywhere - the name of this website and title of the book which informs it, and a shorthand for the underlying thesis; that court fools...

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Always more to say or add

Foolsareeverywhere.com is not a digital version of the book which informs and inspired it. Websites are 'works in progress', always evolving, never...

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Design & content copyright: Beatrice Otto 2019 all rights reserved   I   header & related jester illustrations by joaomontenegro.com

Colours and fonts were chosen for aesthetic strength and because their names reflect the mission of foolsareeverywhere.com. Fonts: Quipley I Lustria I Wild Pen. Colours include: Jester Yellow by Faeriepuffs I New Laughter by Ilara ... you get the picture

 

 

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