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April Fool’s Day | The Cock, Fox and April Fish | Quick History

April 1, 2021 All day

April 1st

It is believed that the association between April 1 and foolishness is due to  Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales (1392), in the Nun’s Priest’s Tale.

The main character is Chauntecleer, a proud cock (rooster) who dreams of his approaching doom due to a fox. Frightened, he awakens Pertelote, the chief favourite among his seven wives. She assures him that he only suffers from indigestion and chides him for paying heed to a simple dream. Chauntecleer is comforted and proceeds to greet a new day. Unfortunately, for him, his dream was his future.

The infamous col-fox, being wickedly sly, who had previously tricked Chauntecleer’s father and mother to their death, lies in wait for him in a bed of cabbage. The fox plays to the roosters inflated ego and overcomes the cock’s instinct to escape by insisting he would love to hear Chauntecleer crow just as his amazing father did, standing on tiptoe with neck outstretched and eyes closed. When the cock does so, he is promptly snatched from the yard in the fox’s jaws and slung over his back. As the fox flees through the forest, with the entire barnyard giving chase, the captured Chauntecleer suggests that he should pause to tell his pursuers to give up. The predator’s own pride is now his undoing, as the fox opens his mouth to taunt his pursuers, Chauntecleer escapes from his jaws and flies into the nearest tree. The fox tries in vain to convince the wary rooster of his repentance, now preferring the safety of the tree and refuses to fall for the same trick a second time.

April Fool’s Day

Historians speculate that April Fools’ Day dates back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar. People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1 and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1 became the butt of jokes and hoaxes.

These pranks included having paper fish placed on their backs and being referred to as poisson d’avril (April fish), said to symbolize a young, “easily hooked” fish and a gullible person.

So today who are you going to be The Fox, a Cock the Fish?

Happy April Fools!

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