History Jokes: Generosity of King Edward III

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!

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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The Oxford Dragon 
Jacob Bobart the younger, and son of a German
horticulturist of the same name, who superintended
the Physic Garden in Oxford, in the
seventeenth century, once played an ingenious
hoax on the learned of that university. He
found a large dead rat in the garden, and transformed
it by art into the shape of a dragon, as
represented in old and curious books of natural
history, particularly in Aldrovandus. This was
shown to various learned men, all of whom believed
it to be a genuine and invaluable specimen
of the dragon. Many fine copies of verses were
written by the literati, in honor of Bobart and
his matchless discovery, and persons flocked
from all parts to see it. Bobart owned the cheat
some years after, but it was for a long time preserved
as a masterpiece of art.

From The Percy Anecdotes
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Henry VIII and a sundial maker 
It was in the year 1517 that Nicholas Kratzer, or Kratcher, a Bavarian, was admitted at the age of thirty to the new college of Corpus Christi at Oxford, founded by Bishop Fox. His name is on the list of lecturers appointed by Cardinal Wolsey, and he lectured on astronomy and mathematics. Tunstall, writing in 1520, calls Kratzer the "deviser of the King's horologies." He became a fellow of Corpus, and while at Oxford he constructed two sun-dials, one for St. Mary's Church, which stood on the churchyard wall till 1744, and another for the college garden. In a MS. work, " De Horologiis," now in the college library, Kratzer says that many of the directions for making dials were taken from an old book in the Carthusian monastery at Auerbach, near Vienna. Kratzer was a man of a merry spirit, and much beloved. When Henry VIII. asked him how it was that after so many years in England he had not learned to speak the language, he is said to have replied frankly : "Pardon, your highness, but how can a man learn English in only thirty years?"

From The Book of Sun-dials by Alfred Gatty, Eleanor Lloyd
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Coronation of George I 
Nothing of special interest marks the Coronation of George I., except that, as he was unable to speak English, and scarcely anyone round him could speak German, recourse had to be had to Latin. As all the various ceremonies had to be laboriously explained to him in this language, the Coronation was consequently a long and tedious affair with many interruptions. In connection with this a common joke among the people at the time was that much bad language had passed between the King and his ministers on the day of the Coronation. The wife of George I., like the wife of his descendant, George IV., was not permitted to take any part in the great celebration, but was left a prisoner in Germany, where she remained in captivity for thirty years.

From The Windsor Magazine: An Illustrated Monthly for Men and Women
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"King Arthur" Merry-making at sea 
Sunday, March 2, 2008, 11:33 PM - British humor, history of England
Posted by Court Jester
This is another gameused at sea,
when near the line, or in a hot latitude.
It is performed as follows.

A man, who is to represent King Arthur,
ridiculously dressed, having a large wig
made out of oakum, or of some old
swabs, is seated on the side, or over a
large vessel of water. Every person in
his turn is to be ceremoniously introduced
to him, and to pour a bucket of water over
him, crying, "Hail, King Arthur!" If
during this ceremony the person introduced
laugh- or smiles, (to which his majesty
endeavours to excite him, by all sorts
of ridiculous gesticulations), he
changes place with, and then becomes,
King Arthur, till relieved by some
brother tar, who has as little command
over his muscles as himself.

From The Olio, Or, Museum of Entertainment
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