Jester character jug modeled by Charles J. Noke and produced by Royal Doulton of Burslem, England, between 1936-1960. Professional jesters or fools have been employed to entertain since the time of the Egyptian pharaohs. These tellers-of-jest were paid to amuse with witty remarks. Their madness, real or pretended, gave them license to ridicule their patron no matter how noble. The jester flourished in medieval England where, dressed in his motley coat, hood with ass' ears, coxcomb, bells and baubles, he was a familiar sight in royal courts, private households and taverns. By the 1600s these comic entertainers were losing their popularity, but they have been immortalized in literature, particularly in the plays of Shakespeare where jesters are often central to the plot.