Tuesday 23 June 2009

A brief history of Jokes (Part V)

The Age of Chivalry was a particularly poor one for jokes. Much of this was down to the fact that people in medieval times responded to everything with the exclamations “Ha!”, “Aha!” and “Ah!” (See the works of Sir Thomas Malory, passim.)

In those days, however, “Ha!” was more likely to mean “I’m going to chop your head off!” than to register enjoyment of a joke.

It was not a good time for jokes.

There was one glimmer of hope. The mysterious vessel Hawker’s Pot was sometimes glimpsed gliding through dark woods, in hermitages, and once in the great hall at Camelot. It dispensed its gifts to those who were most worthy. After it appeared at Camelot, many were the knights of the Round Table who set off on the Quest of Hawker’s Pot. Most were unsuccessful; but a few achieved the Quest and returned to the Court of King Arthur. But to enquiries as to what had been revealed to them – of puns, paragrams and paronomasia -- there was nothing they could say to their King and brother knights except:

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