History jokes, famous anecdotes and short funny stories.

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. For some of these short jokes explanations had to be provided. Enjoy!

Peter the Great's fool 
Friday, February 29, 2008, 09:13 PM - Jokes and anecdotes of famous people, Modern Age History, Satire
Posted by Administrator
Often by Peter's side at table, and in his cups, was to
be seen an individual addressed as the "Patriarch of
Russia," and sometimes as the "King of Siberia." He
was attired in sacerdotal robes, and covered with loosely-
hung gold and silver medals, which sounded musically as
he moved. It was a favourite trick with Peter, when he
and the Patriarch were equally drunk, to suddenly overturn
him, chair and all, and exhibit the reverend gentleman
with his heels in the air. There is record of a similar
fool in the person of the "King of the Samoieds." He
was a Pole who was boarded, and who received a rouble
monthly, for entertaining the Czar and court by the
exercise of such small wit as was reckoned at such
low worth. This title of " King of the Samoieds " was
usually conferred by Peter on what may be styled his
occasional fools. Thus, meeting among the patients at
the "Water Cure," at Alonaitz, in 1719, a Portuguese
Jew, whose singularities and comic bearing delighted the
Czar, the latter first promoted him to the equivocal distinction
of "titular count," and then conferred on him
the fool's royalty in the Kingship of the Samoieds. The
most burlesque of coronations was subsequently performed
in Peter's presence. It was to some such rank
that the Czar elevated his own old writing-master, Sotoff;
and it may be observed that when the Russian priests remonstrated
against his distinguishing his fools by the title
of "patriarchs," he changed the rank and addressed them
as "priests."

From The history of court fools by John Doran
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Prince of Wales and a German oboe player 
Another joke was played off upon poor Fischer
by the Prince of Wales this merrymaking season,
to this effect: after the concert, which Fischer
attended twice a week at Richmond or at Kew,
wherever the King and Queen were, he used eagerly
to seize upon the supper before he went to London.
Upon one occasion the Prince came in and said, ' I
have ordered something that I know you like;' a
dish was brought in, and when the cover was lifted,
out jumped a rabbit. Germans have a particular
dislike to that animal in every shape and form ;
therefore it is easy to conjecture poor Fischer's
state of mind. This joke cost him only the loss of his
supper, but many nights succeeded before he could
be prevailed upon to again enter the eating-room.

From Court and Private Life in the Time of Queen Charlotte by Charlotte Louise Henrietta Papendiek
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Wolfgang Mozart at the opera 
Tuesday, February 19, 2008, 01:07 PM - Jokes and anecdotes of famous people, Modern Age History
Posted by Administrator
Mozart once created quite a sensation in a theater he
was visiting. It was at Marseilles. He had gone to
the opera incognito to hear one of his own works performed.
All went well till, in a certain passage, through
some error in the copyist, the orchestra played "D"
where Mozart had written "D sharp." This change of
one note made a decided difference in the harmony, and
turned the superior harmonic effect intended into a very
ordinary sounding affair.

No sooner was this done than Mozart sprang to his
feet, crying out: " Play D sharp, will you; play D sharp,
you wretches!" It may be imagined that such actions
produced quite a sensation. The orchestra and singers
stopped their performance and the audience began to
hiss him down and cry, "Put him out!" and he was
about to be summarily ejected from the theater, when
he announced who he was.

When it was known that it was Mozart, the tumult
subsided, and cries of " Mozart! Mozart!" rang through
the house. The very ones that were about to expel
him now conducted him to the orchestra, and he was
compelled to direct the opera, which was taken up anew.
This time the missing D sharp was played in its proper
place and produced the intended effect. At the close
of the opera a perfect ovation was tendered the composer,
and the people were not content until they had escorted
him in triumph to his hotel.

From Anecdotes of Great Musicians by Willey Francis Gates
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Spartan Soldier's Wit 
Just before the battle of Thermopylae, a Spartan
soldier came and reported, that the Persians were
so numerous, that their clouds of arrows darkened the
sun. 'So much the better,' said Leonidas,' for we
shall fight in the shade.'

From The Flowers of Wit by Henry Kett
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General Grant and a rebel's knapsack 
The day before General Grant attacked Fort Donelson, the troops had had a march of twenty miles, part of it during a bitter cold night. Grant called a council of war to consider whether they should attack the fort at once, or should give the troops a day or two of rest. The officers were in favor of resting. Grant said nothing until they had all given their opinion; then he said: "There is a deserter who came in this morning, let us see him and hear what he has to say." When he came in, Grant looked into his knapsack. "Where are you from ?" "Fort Donelson." "Six days' rations in your knapsack, have you not, my man?" "Yes, Sir." "When were they served out?" "Yesterday morning." "Were the same rations served out to all the troops ?" "Yes, Sir." "Gentlemen," said Grant, " troops do not have six days' rations served out to them in a fort if they mean to stay there. These men mean to retreat, not to fight: we will attack at once. His action was as good as his word, and the eagles of victory soon perched upon his glorious banners.

From The Pictorial Book of Anecdotes and Incidents of the War of the Rebellion
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