While designing September socks, we at the Supreme Sock Council took a moment to reflect on the oldest craft professed by the ladies. Our meditations were purely philosophical, though, as we realized there was no known male counterpart. Hence, a riddle we had to solve.
The blacksmith, carpenter and weaver are only a few of the many nominees. We cannot forget one horse in this hypothetical race. And it is no dark horse. While a court jester’s sense of humor may be dark, his garment must scream with colors, just like socks.
A designated jester was the indulgence of many indigenous tribes. Take the example of indigenous pre-Columbian tribes in America, whose jesters, called Tatsuki, used humor to extinguish the fires of neighborly disagreement. Confronting a medieval monarch could also be a royally sensitive discipline. The king’s will was law and his disappointment could be as sharp as the executioner’s blade. The only one who could joke was one who was never taken seriously.
King George of Poděbrady listened closely to his own jester, Jan Paleček. The court jester of Henry VIII was as successful an entertainer as he was an advisor. In spite of his master’s appetite for executions, he not only survived but also carried on to serve Queen Elizabeth I.
Perhaps that witty jester was the forefather of all counselors and advisors – a craft held in high esteem today. Much speaks in favor of placing the colorful court fool on the pedestal of firsts alongside the infamous courtesans.
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