'You say you're a Fool,' Nita said. 'Are you making a joke?'
'Always. But the jokes are always true.'
from A Wizard Abroad, by Diane Duane

If I want to look at a Fool, I have only to look in the mirror.

A juggle of state to cozen the people.

Is't possible the spells of France should juggle
Men into such strange mysteries?

"You know what you are man, you know what you remind me of. Y-you're like th-th-th-th-that guy, with the, you know, with the, with the hat, and the bells, and the little, you know..."

"The court jester."

"Yeah, right, where everything is so easy to laugh at, from a safe distance back in clever clever land. You know what happened to him? They find his skull in a grave and they go 'Oh, I knew him, and he was funny.' And the guy, the court jester, dies all by himself."

"Where'd you hear that, a renaissance festival? Besides, everyone dies all by himself."

"If you really believe that, who are you looking for out here?"
from Reality Bites

Jugglers and impostors do daily delude them.
Sir T. Browne

JESTER, n. An officer formerly attached to a king's household, whose business it was to amuse the court by ludicrous actions and utterances, the absurdity being attested by his motley costume. The king himself being attired with dignity, it took the world some centuries to discover that his own conduct and decrees were sufficiently ridiculous for the amusement not only of his court but of all mankind. The jester was commonly called a fool, but the poets and romancers have ever delighted to represent him as a singularly wise and witty person. In the circus of to-day the melancholy ghost of the court fool effects the dejection of humbler audiences with the same jests wherewith in life he gloomed the marble hall, panged the patrician sense of humor and tapped the tank of royal tears.

The widow-queen of Portugal
Had an audacious jester
Who entered the confessional
Disguised, and there confessed her.

"Father," she said, "thine ear bend down --
My sins are more than scarlet:
I love my fool -- blaspheming clown,
And common, base-born varlet."

"Daughter," the mimic priest replied,
"That sin, indeed, is awful:
The church's pardon is denied
To love that is unlawful.

"But since thy stubborn heart will be
For him forever pleading,
Thou'dst better make him, by decree,
A man of birth and breeding."

She made the fool a duke, in hope
With Heaven's taboo to palter;
Then told a priest, who told the Pope,
Who damned her from the altar!

Barel Dort

Definition from The Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce, published in 1911.

Then come jesters, musicians and trained dwarfs, And singing girls from the land of Ti-ti, To delight the ear and eye And bring mirth to the mind.
Sima Xiangru (179-117 BC), Rhapsody on the Shanglin Park
[Quoted in B K Otto, Fools Are Everywhere]

"Who Is Not a Fool?" ["Qui non stultus?"]
Horace (65-8 BC), Satires
[Quoted in B K Otto, Fools Are Everywhere]

Without his wishing it, Hiei looked into the mind of the Harlequin and saw...

...delighted laughter of innocent children mixing rainbow-colored sweet threads with demented mad merriment of crazed carnivals in a blaze of darkness coming light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming dragon endless curiosity broken in billions of shards in a shattered universe in the mind of mine own memory small jokes big jokes nice jokes nasty jokes the cards are all jokers the tarot says so and I am the tarot hear my singing the discordant music of the itinerant performers freaks and frauds and too-real magicks tangled in the lights that outshine the stars and lend their color to the featureless population there is no reality here mundanes have no faces we have many they are me and I am them and have been them for thousands of thousands of thousands aw you get the picture you see the carnivals the circuses the festivals the feasts it goes further back I'll tell you even the daimyos and shoguns and emperors had to laugh at something at the tricks that brought down egos but only I laughed at the tricks that brought down empires it goes all the way back to the Early Times when the first man-ape thought to put old seaweed on a sleeping chieftain's head he smelled funny for just days they had a good giggle about that I can tell you and it's only gotten better since then every time someone laughs at another's humiliation at another's tricks and jokes it is a prayer to me as you can guess I'm pretty strong by now wanna see you have silver confetti in your hair what were you thinking about anyway your temperature went up several degrees for a moment there did you know that...
From Harlequin, the first of a fanfiction series by Koko-chan and the Blue Spanch

Foolery, sir, does walk about the orb like the sun, it shines everywhere. William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

We have all seen how an appropriate and well-timed joke can sometimes influence even grim tyrants. . . . The most violent tyrants put up with their clowns and fools, though these often made them the butt of open insults.
Desiderius Erasmus, In Praise of Folly
[Quoted in B K Otto, Fools Are Everywhere]

On with the motley, the paint and the powder,
The people pay thee and want their laugh, you know.
If Harlequin thy Columbine has stolen,
Laugh, Punchinello, the world will shout 'Bravo!'

Go hide with laughter thy tears and thy sorrow,
Laugh and be merry, playing thy part,
Laugh, Punchinello, for the joy that is ended,
Laugh for the pain that is breaking thy heart.
Ruggero Leoncavallo, from the opera I, Pagliacci

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