By appointment

By appointment

Accounts of how jesters came to be recruited to their role range from the credible to the mythical.  A courtier spotting a suitable candidate on his travels is feasible.  A king appointing a jester based on a brassy rejoinder, likewise.  However, this delightful tale,...
How to get the job

How to get the job

Tenali Rama, one of the three superstar jesters of India, is said to have earned his position as jester by making King Krsnadevaraya laugh.  According to one story, he contrived for the king’s guru to carry him around on his shoulders within sight of the king. ...
Defying predictions

Defying predictions

Tenali Rama is one of the great legendary jesters of India, and stories about his exposing corruption, lies and nonsense abound.  He even exposed the king himself in one account. An enemy of the king bribed his astrologer to dissuade him from a military campaign by...
In real time

In real time

This short story regarding the Indian folk fool Tenali Rama illustrates perfectly the literalness of the fool, which you might have encountered in children, perhaps with occasional exasperation.  I shared this during a talk to a group which included professional...
The pits (II)

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 vivid figment of the collective imagination pegged to a real king.This curious anecdote concerns the scatological...

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