His Majesty’s sense of humour was famous all over France, but not so much among the Habsburgs, his main opponents, as I judge based on my own historical research. It means not only in Louis’s appreciation of staging comedies or comic genre in the whole. His Majesty enjoyed amusing stories, anecdotes and among his milieu, – (Louis equally respected people of various estates, so his true friends belonged not only to the nobility),- there were plenty of people with a bright sense of humour. Marquis de Dangeau, for example, a diplomat and an author of famous Diaries, used to entertain the King with various funny stories. Duc de Vivonne, Marquise de Montespan’s brother, was another example of a brilliant eccentricity. It is rumored that once he invented a barrel race (a person got into a barrel and then it rolled down from a hill), that was very popular at the Court. Another time he kept a true owl in his Versailles rooms. It created great deal of troubles to others, while mice and grass snakes he had to feed the owl ran away all over the palace. However this very owl named Marie-Lou made Duc popular among the court ladies. Madame de Montespan, by the way, once begged the King to keep little bears in Versailles. Louis agreed, no matter disastrous consequences: animals destroyed decorations of rooms they stayed in. Finally bears were released and returned back to the forest.
And the King was fond of making jokes too. There are numerous anecdotes about Louis XIV. For example: Once Louis asked a courtier whether he knew Spanish. The last one comprehended this question in a serious way and rushed to learn the language. He decided that the King wanted to appoint him a messenger in Spain. So, when the courtier learned the language, he told this news to His Majesty. ‘I’m extremely glad for you, Messire,’ Louis answered. ‘Now you can read Cervantes in the original.’
Vive le Roy!
Interesting post, Maria. That poor courtier who learned Spanish all for nothing. Although, of course, there are benefits, just not the ones he was expecting.
Thanks, dear Robbie. Indeed! Anyhow, a foreign language like Spanish in the 17th France opened great perspectives. 🙂
Yes, even now days it would.
😄 I like a man with a sense of humour but I would rather not have owls and bears in my home!
Ha-ha-ha, Hester! Great comment! Well…a barrel racing is a bit extreme too. 🙂 By the way, are there any bears in the South Africa? I guess not. Imagine, a bear having a sunbath on a beach! That is a joke!
No bears, except for one polar bear in the Pretoria zoo that I know of.
Oh! I hope he is fine in your climat zone!
I actually googled it and I see he died in 2014 in the Johannesburg Zoo where he lived since age 2 years old. He died at the age of 30. The zoo will not be replacing him and a good thing too – I hate the very thought of animals in cages.
Poor animal, so much time in cage! I share your opinion, dear Hester! Zoos are horrible places.
Interesting, Maria. I’m not sure the joke was too funny to the courtier. 😀
Thanks, dear John…Well, human vanity plays tricks with people. In fact, why has he decided that King’s question was more than just curiosity.
When a King asks a question it has to be more because to have a kings curiosity satisfied by a commoner would be unheard of.
With that hairstyle and mustache, one would have to have a sense of humor.
Oh, Don! Thank you! That is Louis, the real one. And there is some cunny flash into his glance, isn’t it?
Oh, well people make up things in their minds, serve him well for his ambition, but at least as the king pointed out he could read Don Quijote in the original, myself never knew what Shakespeare was all about, until I was able to read him in English. 🙂
🙂 🙂 🙂