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A triboulet at the Monthey carnival
The Triboulet of Hugo's Le Roi s'amuse (The Fool and Death by Sarah Bernhardt)

Nicolas Ferrial, also known as Le Févrial or Triboulet (1479–1536) was a jester of kings Louis XII and Francis I of France.

He appears in Book 3 of François Rabelais' Pantagrueline chronicles. He appears in Victor Hugo's Le Roi s'amuse and its opera version, Giuseppe Verdi's Rigoletto, a blend of "Triboulet" and French rigoler (to laugh), intended to deflect the censorship that Hugo's work had received. A triboulet, a jester dressed entirely in red, is a character associated with the carnival of Monthey in Switzerland.

Attributed famous quotes[edit]

Portrait, c.1550

Triboulet once came to the Monarch with a complaint.

Triboulet: "A noble has threatened to hang me!"
The Monarch: "Don't worry! If he hangs you I'll have him beheaded fifteen minutes later."
Triboulet: "Well, would it be possible to behead him 15 minutes before?"[citation needed]

Once, Triboulet could not contain himself and slapped the monarch on the bum. The monarch lost his temper and threatened to execute Triboulet. A bit later, the monarch calmed down a little and promised to forgive Triboulet if he could think of an apology more insulting than the offending deed. A few seconds later, Triboulet responded: "I'm so sorry, your majesty, that I didn't recognize you! I mistook you for the Queen!"[1]


Having broken an order from Francis I forbidding Triboulet from making jokes on the queen and her courtiers, the king ordered that he should be put to death. Having served the king particularly well for many years, Francis I granted Triboulet the right to choose the way he would die. Triboulet, with his sharp mind, said the following: "Bon sire, par sainte Nitouche et saint Pansard, patrons de la folie, je demande à mourir de vieillesse." which translates to: "Good sire, for Saint Nitouche's and Saint Pansard's sake, patrons of insanity, I choose to die from old age." Having no other choice than to laugh, the king ordered that Triboulet must not be executed but rather instead be banished from the realm.[2][3]

External links[edit]

Media related to Triboulet (1479–1536) at Wikimedia Commons


  1. ^ Frieda, Leonie (2018). Francis I: The Maker of Modern France. Orion Publishing Group. ISBN 978-1474605588. Retrieved 20 November 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "TRIBOULET : le fou des rois". Triboulet (in French). 23 October 2014. Archived from the original on 28 December 2014. Retrieved 28 December 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "LA COUR : Triboulet, le fou du roi". Historia (in French). 24 January 2008. Archived from the original on 28 December 2014. Retrieved 28 December 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)