History jokes, famous anecdotes and short funny stories. Medieval jokes and anecdotes

Funny anecdotes and short stories are a great source of examples in public speeches. This website contains short funny stories, clean jokes and humorous legends of kings and queens, politicians, famous literary figures and artists from many books and sources. The styles of writers from different time periods was preserved - they often enhance the stories in an amusing way. Enjoy and have fun!

Erigena and the King (the original Irish joke) 
One day tho king and Erigena sat on opposite sides of the
table, with the courtiers ranged around. The scholar—through
forgetfulness or ignorance—transgressed some of the rules of etiquette,
so as to offend the fastidious taste of those who sat by, upon which,
the king asked him what was the difference between a Scot* and a
sot (Quid distat inter Scottum et Sottum?). "
"Tabula tantum" (Just the breadth of the table)," said Erigena; and it is more
than likely that the royal witling ventured on no more puns, for
that day at least, at the scholar's expense. Erigena is said to have
died in France some time previous to the year 877.

* A Scot then meant a native of Ireland

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Love and Glory 
In the year 863, Harold destroyed the host of
princes who had long divided Norway, and united
the whole of the provinces under his own dominion.
Being enamoured of Gida, the daughter of Prince
Eric, of Hadaland, he sent some persons of his suit
to conduct her to court. "Tell your master," said
the high-born princess, " that I will never consent to
marry him, until he shall reign over the whole of Norway,
instead of a few provinces." Harold was not
discouraged by this reply, but regarded it as a
summons to glory. He assembled troops, attacked all
the remaining chiefs of provinces, exterminated them
one after another, and thus won the hand of the fair

From The Percy Anecdotes
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Generosity of King Edward III 
Wednesday, March 5, 2008, 12:05 AM - Jokes and anecdotes of famous people, Medieval jokes and anecdotes
Posted by Court Jester
When Calais was besieged by Edward III. in 1347, John de Vienne, the governor, turned out of the town every individual who did not possess a sufficient supply of provisions for several months. Men, women, and children, to the amount of seventeen hundred persons, advanced in mournful procession to the English camp. Edward ordered them to be received, gave them a plentiful repast, and at their departure, distributed to each two pieces of silver. We are sorry to add, that five hundred more, that were turned out, did not experience similar humanity, but perished between the walls and the camp.
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Gonella, a jester of Borda, Duke of Ferrara 
Sunday, February 17, 2008, 10:03 PM - Jokes and anecdotes of famous people, Court Jesters, Medieval jokes and anecdotes
Posted by Court Jester
"For the love of the saints, give a poor blind man alms!"

"Pray pity the poor blind; and Heaven preserve your
precious eyesight!"

"Born blind, gracious signer; bestow your charity on
one who never saw light!"

Thus prayed three blind beggars, as Gonella passed by
them to Mass. "Poor fellows!" said the jester, "there is
a florin, divide it amongst you." He gave nothing at all;
and as those who stood near smiled, he put his finger on his
lips, to enjoin silence.

"May Heaven reward you in Paradise!" said the blind
men, in chorus;—and a moment after, " Let us share the
signor's charity." But as neither had any florin, and as no
one believed that he was not being robbed by his fellow?.
they fell to savage words, and from savage words to blows,
fiercely striking at each other with their crutches till heads
were broken and bleeding; and Gonella passed in to
prayers, with the complacent comment, " Blessed are the
peace-makers !"

From The history of court fools by John Doran
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Scogan - a Jester to Edward VI (Edward Tudor) 
Among the practical jokes of this court fool I recognize
many that really belong to a much earlier period, and
which must have been current as " stories" at the time
they are narrated as having been performed by Scogan
himself. The following, however, is said to be properly
assigned to him. He had borrowed a large sum of money of
tho King. Some stories say the Queen, and Flogel even
names Quern Elizabeth as the patroness of this jester ! The
sum is sot down at £500, which is extremely doubtful. Be
this as it may, a day for payment had been named; and
when that day had arrived, Scogan was not prepared to pay
the debt. After much thought upon the matter, he fell sick
and died, and requested his friends to bury him in such a
way that the Sovereign should encounter the funeral. They
entered into the joke with great alacrity, put on the trappings
of mitigated affliction, and in due time carried Scogan
forth on a comfortably-arranged bier, when they contrived, as
directed, to encounter Edward. When Louis XV. saw the
funeral of his old favourite, Madame de Pompadour, he had
the bad taste to cut a sorry joke. When Edward met the
funeral procession of Scogan, he regretted the loss of his
merry follower; and among other kind things to which he
gave utterance, remarked, that he freely forgave Scogan and
his representatives the sum for which the jester was indebted
to him. The buffoon, who had expected this act of
release, immediately jumped up, thanked his illustrious creditor,
and prudently called all present to bear witness to
the Royal act of grace : "It is so revivifying," said Scogan,
"that it has called me to life again." If this incident be
true, we may also believe, as we are requested to do, that
great mirth followed thereupon.

From The history of court fools by John Doran
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