April Fool

I think of April first as a time for the topsy-turvy to take over. I think the weather has a lot to do with it.

I’ve never been one for tricks because I really do believe in the golden rule. If I drop a balloon full of pudding on someone’s head can I really avoid a prank call about my car being totaled?

Instead I want to write about the role of The Fool in fairy tales, one of the chief archetypes. What they all seem to have in common is that they are good for no reason. Their families go out of their way to give them the worst of everything and ridicule them for any kindness they show. So does that mean that a fool in the times of the Grimm Brothers was kind despite the wretchedness of his life?

One of my favorite stories is The Golden Goose. The youngest of three sons (they’re always the youngest of three) has to chop wood for his family because the elder two have had terrible axing accidents after denying a old man some of their lunch (talk about fools!). The Simpleton, who is given vinegar instead of cider and hard bread offers to share the meal and is rewarded with a Golden Goose. After parading around town with the treasure, and having townspeople stick to it and each other trying to pull off a feather, he arrives in a town that offers the hand of a princess if they can make her laugh. Being simple and not having noticed the train of buffoons behind him, he shows her the goose, everyone falls and she laughs thus proving that girls like guys who can make them laugh.

Another story, The Queen Bee, runs along the same lines except he helped animals and insects who helped him in return. He and his smarter, older brothers are given impossible tasks to complete and the young idiot gets it done with the help of some ants, some ducks, and a bee. For his trouble he wins himself a castle and a princess to marry. These are called serendipitous fools, very popular in fairy tales. Couldn’t we all take a lesson from that?

I recommend that for today, instead of giving your best friend a fake winning lottery ticket or calling your parents and telling them you just got married, try being a fairy tale fool. Be nice for no reason and here’s the kicker…people will think you’re up to something thus playing the biggest trick of all. Happy April Fools!

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