Wednesday, April 29, 2015


Nicolas Ferrial aka Triboulet (1479-1536) 

was the Court jester for French kings Louis XII

Portrait of Louis XII, King of France from 7 April 1498 – 1 January 1515

and François I.

Portrait of François I, King of France from 1 January 1515 –31 March 1547
Triboulet was known for his quick wit and often found himself provoking the ire of his King.

Having gone beyond an order of François Ier who forbade him to make fun of the courtisanes of the court or of the Queen, the King sentenced him to death. However, because he has served well during his life, the king granted him the privilege to choose the way in which he would die. Full of spirit, Triboulet responds that he wanted to die in the manner of an old man, "old age". The King, forced to laugh at the vivacity of spirit of his jester, commuted the death penalty to banishment.

Triboulet is featured in Le troisieme Livre des faits et dits Heroiques du Noble Pantagruel by François Rabelais (1546)

where he is characterized as a fool to the supreme degree, a fatal fool, a high level fool, a celestial fool, a Mercurial fool, an erratic fool, an excentric fool, an artic fool, a genial fool, an imperial fool, a royal fool, a papal fool, a pretorial fool, a doctoral fool, an episcopal fool, a fool with a degree in Foolishness, and many additional irreverential and hilarious qualifiers...

In 1832, Victor Hugo wrote the play Le roi s'amuse with Triboulet as his main character to criticize the mores of the French society at the time. 


In 1907, George Meliès, a French filmmaker who pioneered many technical and narrative developments in the early days of cinema,

released a silent movie titled Francois Ier et Triboulet.


And in the late XIXth century, La Maison Kreps in Paris commissioned this exquisitely carved meerschaum of Triboulet...

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