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Mathurine de Vallois: The Lifesaving Jestress

Mathurine de Vallois

The Lifesaving Jestress

(15??–1626, France)

France’s King Henry IV was incredibly unpopular! There were 12 assassination attempts against him in his lifetime.

During one such attempt in 1594, a young man named Jean Chatel broke into the King’s chambers and lunged at him with a knife.

But oh, what have we here! MATHURINE DE VALLOIS, the court jestress!

She is said to have blocked the door and prevented Jean Chatel’s escape.

People have credited her with saving the King’s life and capturing the assassin, which might be a stretch. I think she really just stood in the door :)

But let’s learn more about Mathurine La Folle!

According to Charlie the Juggling Clown (the most reputable source I could find), Mathurine was called"pugnacious and outspoken."

"Satirists called themselves a Mathurine, and a specific type of burlesque writing is called mathurinade because it was associated with her style of comedy."

She's credited with this joke:

A woman standing near Mathurine said "I don't like having a fool on my right side."

So Mathurine stood on her other side, saying "I don't mind it at all."

Get it? The OTHER woman is the fool now!

This silly bit was used throughout the 19th century by clowns and circus ringmasters.

The next time someone tries to break into your chambers, for GOODNESS sake have your jester stop their escape. And in the meantime, read more: