Jester toby jug produced by Viking Pottery of Cobridge, England, circa 1960. Professional jesters or fools have been employed to entertain since the days of the Egyptian pharaohs. These tellers of jest were paid to amuse with witty remarks and their madness, real or pretended, gave them license to ridicule their patron no matter how noble. The jester flourished in medieval England and 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.