Friday, April 1, 2016

April Fools!

     Did you ever wonder how the annual tradition of playing practical jokes started?  History is a little hazy on this, but I did a bit of research and found a scholarly article written in an old historical journal by Prof. I. M. Foulenne of the University of Dover, SE campus.  He recounted the most unusual story:

     Once there was a beautiful princess who had all the admirers she could ever want.  It was getting time for her decide whom to marry, and her father kept pressing her to make a decision.  However, this young princess was a little vain and enjoyed the attention of all the suitors who came to visit her.

     One day her father came into her room and gave her an ultimatum.  "You must decide on your groom by the first day of April, so that spring's passion might bring me an heir to the kingdom."  The princess blushed, but agreed, seeing that her father was adamant.

    She devised a plan.  She would choose three of her most favorite suitors and send them on a mission.  However, this mission had a challenge that she alone knew -- it would take cunning and insight for the suitor to win her hand.

    Finally, the first day of April arrived and the princess summoned the three gallant suitors.  To each she gave a letter, rolled up as a scroll, and told them to take it to the wisest person they knew, who would read it and tell them what to do next.  The suitor who returned to her first, having completed his mission, would win her hand.

     The men rode out as fast at they could.  The first, a handsome and strong man, handed his scroll to a renowned warrior.  The warrior took it, read it, and told him to report to the commander at the fort at the edge of the kingdom. 

     The second suitor, a man known for his charm and beautiful tenor voice, took it to the greatest musician in the land.  The musician took the scroll, read it, and told him to go to the abbey in the northernmost part of the kingdom, where he would find a singer beyond compare.

     The last, a gentle and thoughtful man, rode his horse until he grew hot from riding in the sun.  He found a shade tree and thought of who he would consider the wisest person in the land.  He thought and thought, and could not decide whom to choose.  Then, he remembered who taught him the love of books, and the beauty of clear thought and honest motives, and he turned his horse toward his childhood home.  He entered the house and gave his mother a hug.  "Mother," he said, handing her the scroll, "I ask you to please read this and guide me what to do next."  His mother took the scroll, read it, and made a wry face.  "Child," she said, "This does not apply to you.  Here, have a look."  He took the scroll, read it, and laughed aloud.  "Thank you, Mother, for the kind compliment and for your faith in me.  The princess has laid a trap.  I will return to her immediately and ask for her hand."  And, after hugging his mother one more time, so he did.

     And what did the scroll say? 

    "Send the fool further."

    April Fools!

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