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How a court jester slapped the king's butt, then brilliantly convinced him not to kill him

Triboulet's quick humor rescued him from Francis I's deadly wrath, not once, but twice.

Triboulet and King Francis I
Public Domain

Triboulet served as court jester under King Francis I, who ruled France from 1515 to 1547.

Court jesters hold a unique place in history. Playing the fool for kings and queens meant they were always in close proximity to royalty, but so very far from their rank and station.

Comedians often like to push boundaries, but that can be a dangerous business when your job is to entertain the peope who have executioners at their beck and call. Especially when you forget your place—or purposely ignore it, as the case may be—and playfully smack the reigning monarch square on the behind.

That little whoopsie was the claim to fame of Triboulet, a court jester who served King Francis I in 16th-century France. But it was how he got away with slapping the king on the butt and living to tell about it that earned him his place in history books.


According to Leonie Frieda's "Francis I: The Maker of Modern France," the king greatly enjoyed Triboulet's bawdy humor, though the jester frequently crossed the line with death penalty-worthy offenses. In one incident, Triboulet smacked Francis I on his royal behind, which infuriated the king. He threatened the fool with execution, but after taking a moment to calm down, he offered Triboulet an out: If the jester could come up with an apology that was even more insulting than the butt smack, he would live.

Triboulet thought fast and quickly came up with the best possible answer: "I'm so sorry, Your Majesty, but I didn't recognize you. I mistook you for the Queen."

Boom. King was owned. Triboulet lived.

In another instance, Triboulet offended a mistress of Francis I and again faced execution for his impertinence. However, the king, in his mercy, gave the jester the option of choosing his method of death.

"Good sire, by Saint Nitouche and Saint Pansard, patrons of madness," Triboulet responded, "I ask to die of old age." The king was left speechless, and true to his word, Triboulet lived to see another day. (And he did, indeed, die of old age in 1536.)

Humor and wit are often underestimated as survival skills, but Triboulet's narrow misses showcase how useful they can be. Even the World Economic Forum calls a sense of humor an "essential life skill" for its ability to protect us from disease and help us connect with others. Humor also plays an important role in long-term relationships.

Most of us won't have our lives literally depend on our quick wit like Triboulet, but it's not a bad idea to hone our humor skills. You just never know when a perfectly-timed zinger will come in handy.

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

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Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

A group of students staring at their phones.

The Norwegian government is spearheading a significant initiative to prohibit students from having smartphones in schools. This move comes in the wake of compelling studies demonstrating the positive impact of removing these devices from students’ hands and allowing them to focus more on their learning.

The effects have been particularly beneficial for girls.

Over the past few years, smartphone bans have cropped up in several school districts throughout Norway, allowing researchers to study how the bans affected students. Sara Abrahamsson, a postdoctoral fellow at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, analyzed students at 400 middle schools and found that the bans had psychological and academic benefits.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health published the results.

1 Girls made fewer appointments for psychological help

The study found that there was a significant decrease in the number of visits that girls made to see a psychological specialist for mental health issues. “Relative to pretreatment this is a significant decline by almost 60% in the number of visits,” Abrahamsson wrote in the study.

2. Steep drop in bullying

The study shows that girls experienced a 46% reduction in bullying after smartphone bans were enacted and boys had a 43% reduction.

smartphone, smartphone ban, norway

Boys looking at memes on a smartphone.

via Max Fischer/Pexels

3. Improved grades for girls

The study revealed that introducing a smartphone ban at the beginning of middle school improved girls' GPAs and increased their chances of enrolling in an academic-oriented high school track versus a vocational study. On the other hand, the ban appeared to have no notable effect on boys’ GPA, teacher-assigned grades, or likelihood of pursuing an academic high school track.

4. The ban had a more significant effect on economically disadvantaged girls

The study found that the ban resulted in greater benefits for economically disadvantaged girls regarding academic performance, appointments for psychological symptoms and the probability of attending an academically focused high school.

The positive impact that the bans have on girls is significant, given the fact that studies show they’ve been the most deeply affected by the rise in mental health issues amongst young people that have coincided with smartphone adaptation.

One of the most disturbing trends is the dramatic rise in suicide rates among girls in developed nations.

smartphones in schools, norway, smartphone ban

Students taking a selfie in school.

via RDNE Stock Project

Jonathan Haidt, author of “The Anxious Generation: How the Great Rewiring of Childhood Is Causing an Epidemic of Mental Illness” and advocate for banning smartphones in schools, explained why smartphone use is more damaging for girls than boys.

“There is a special relationship between social media and girls,” Haidt told “The Reason Interview with Nick Gillespie” podcast. “When boys get together … they're likely to organize themselves into groups to compete [on multiplayer video games].”

“Girls are much more interested in talking about relationships. Who is on the outs with whom? Who's dating who? They have a more developmental map of the social space,” Haidt continued.

When there is conflict within peer groups, social media poses a much greater threat to girls.

“Boys' aggression is ultimately backed up by the threat of physical domination and punching or pain, " Haidt continued. “Girls' aggression is equal in magnitude, but it's aimed at relationships and reputation. It's called relational aggression. Video games, if anything, prevent boys from getting in fights. … The platform settles everything. But girls' relational aggression is amplified. The worst year of bullying is seventh grade. I'm really focused on middle school.”


Representative photos by Viktoria Slowikowska and Karolina Grabowska|Canva

Woman talks to herself like she talks to her dog and gets results.

By now many people heard of positive affirmations and how well they can work for building self-esteem or confidence. They're generally short, positive phrases that relate to whatever the person my be struggling with. People say positive affirmations in the bathroom mirror, on their commute to work or while waiting to pick kids up from school.

The phrases vary from person to person, but the sentiment is always the same, building the person up. Jen Butler, the woman behind the Instagram page, jenbutlersays, put a new spin on positive affirmations that others may want to try. Butler explains in her video that she decided to do an experiment by speaking to herself in the mirror like she speaks to her dog.


The results were surprising to the comedian. Of course there were feelings of ridiculousness, but Butler noticed she actually started to feel better. Initially the experiment was supposed to last 30 days, but with the results being so positive, she says she may keep it up.

"I did not do anything or talk to anyone between when I opened my eyeballs and shimmied my little tush on into the bathroom and stared in the mirror. And then was like, 'You're a little baby angel. It's the babiest little angel,' and something about having that aggressive, intense, ridiculous love first thing in the morning just absolutely terrified any sort of insecurities into fight, flight or freeze, and then they just shut down," Butler explains.

Watch:

People often talk to their pets in an especially happy, over-the-top tone, giving them praise for simply existing, but humans aren't usually that kind to themselves. Based on the comments, the comedian may have just unlocked a new way to do positive self-talk.

"Absolutely LOVE this! On my very first day, using the very words I use on my furry baby, I said 'I love you so much, you bring joy to the world by simply existing and you teach us so much on a daily basis. Thank-you for being part of our family and loving us so much,' I had no idea how much I needed to hear that," one person writes.

"This is so good because I realized that I say to my dog every day 'you are handsome, and smart, and successful, and I am so proud of you' but I don’t even say that to myself," someone says.

"I’m starting tomorrow talking to myself like I talk to my cat. So tomorrow I full expect to have an incredible day like the squishiest mamasita Bonita conchita burrito Dorito should," another shares.

"Why does the thought of doing this for myself absolutely terrify me and bring me to tears," a commenter asks.

So, if you've ever needed motivation to start doing your daily affirmations, just go ahead, stand in front of the mirror and tell yourself what a good human you are. You have the fluffiest best tush there ever was.

Tony Trapani discovers a letter his wife hid from him since 1959.

Tony Trapani and his wife were married for 50 years despite the heartache of being unable to have children. "She wanted children,” Trapani told Fox 17. "She couldn't have any. She tried and tried." Even though they endured the pain of infertility, Tony's love for his wife never wavered and he cherished every moment they spent together.

After his wife passed away when Tony was 81 years old, he undertook the heartbreaking task of sorting out all of her belongings. That’s when he stumbled upon a carefully concealed letter in a filing cabinet hidden for over half a century.

The letter was addressed to Tony and dated March 1959, but this was the first time he had seen it. His wife must have opened it, read it and hid it from him. The letter came from Shirley Childress, a woman Tony had once been close with before his marriage. She reached out, reminiscing about their past and revealing a secret that would change Tony's world forever.


"Dear Tony, I bet you are surprised to hear from me after so many years. I was just thinking about you tonight like so many other nights. But I thought I would write you and find out how you are," the letter reads. "Tony, please don't be angry or surprised to hear this. I have a little boy. He is five-years- old now - grey eyes and beautiful black hair. What I am trying to say Tony is he is your son."

"Please, Tony if you can find it in your heart to forgive me, please come and see him," Shirley wrote in the letter. "Every day he asks me where is his daddy and believe me Tony I can't even answer him anymore. If would be forever grateful to you if you would just see him. ... I'll close now hoping and praying you will answer. P.S. His name is Samuel Duane."

Now, Tony faced the fact that he had a son that would be around 60 years old and he set out to find him. For over a year, Trapani’s sister tried to track down the mysterious Samuel Duane Childress, until she finally contacted his wife, Donna.

Tony and Samuel met in January 2015 and he felt like a new dad. After meeting his father, Samuel said his mother told him she sent the letter, but Tony never responded. "Why my wife didn't tell me," said Trapani. "I don't know. She wanted children. She couldn't have any. She tried and tried."

"I always asked my mom, I said, 'Well what does he look like?'' Samuel said. "She said, 'Well, go look in the mirror."

The two met and caught up on a lifetime of memories with the understanding that they could never change the past. "Just to know him now is so important to me. It's going to fill that void," Samuel said. But just to be sure, Tony took a paternity test to ensure they were father and son.

The test came back negative, revealing that Tony was not the father. The news upset Tony and Samuel, but they still had a unique bond. They shared a relationship with Samuel’s mother and both have been on an incredibly wild ride after Tony found the mysterious letter.

“They're keeping that bond,” Donna said. “That paper doesn't mean anything to him. That bond has been made—and we're going to move on from here.”


This article originally appeared on 2.23.24

Pop Culture

'Britain's Got Talent' contestant blew Simon Cowell away singing a song he 'hates'

Her heartfelt version of "Tomorrow" brought people to tears—and completely changed Simon's tune.

Sydnie Christmas nailed her rendition of "Tomorrow" from "Annie"

Contestants on "Britain's Got Talent" (as well as "American Idol" and "America's Got Talent") have long feared Simon Cowell's judgment, so imagine auditioning with a song choice that automatically brings out his sour side.

That's what contestant Sydnie Christmas did when she chose to sing "Tomorrow" from the musical "Annie," which is Simon Cowell's least favorite song. But much to everyone's surprise, she totally blew him away with her beautiful soulful rendition, causing him to change his tune.

Before performing, Christmas bounded onto the stage with her genuine smile and spunky energy, which endeared her to the judges and audience immediately. She even cracked a joke about her middle name being "Mary" (Sydnie Mary Christmas would be quite the name choice) and got everyone laughing with her.


However, when she announced she'd be singing "Tomorrow," Cowell winced and the other judges groaned.

"That is Simon's worst song," warned judge Amanda Holden.

But when Christmas, who works as a receptionist at a gym, began to sing, it soon became clear that this wasn't an ordinary rendition of the musical classic. Soulful, heartfelt, sad but hopeful, she built the song up bit by bit, bringing the audience along with her on an emotional ride.

Watch:

Not only did she get the coveted Golden Buzzer, but she also managed to get Simon Cowell to say he now loves the song he said he'd hated just minutes before. Viewers loved it, too.

"That was the first time I could take this song serious. Before today I hated it, too," wrote one person.

"When they say you have to make the song your own, she did just that. I have never heard a better version," wrote another.

"Absolutely beautiful; love how the word “tomorrow” always sounded unique EVERY TIME! Listened over and over…" added another.

"I've heard that song a million times and she REALLY got the poignancy of it," shared another. "It is a sad song, but a song of hope, and it is hard to walk that line and she KILLED IT. It's not just about her voice, it is how she sold that song."

She even pulled in people from various walks of life, moving them with her performance:

"I'm a 60 year old highway worker. Just got off work and my wife sent this to me. What I'm trying to figure out is who's been cutting onions in my vehicle? Seriously, teared me up. This took me COMPLETELY off guard and I am so delighted to have experienced this diamond!"

"41 year old hip hop head here and never did I think I would be touched like this. The sound of suffering with a glimmer of hope in the sound. Who is cutting onions at this time."

"I’m a 60 year old builder sitting in my van having lunch. I just watched this. The guys in the next van are taking the P coz I’m crying my eyes out! Brilliant!"

As someone named Annie, I've had "Tomorrow" sung to me countless times over the years, so I shared Simon Cowell's initial grimace upon hearing what she was going to sing. But I too was moved by Christmas's performance and gained a whole new appreciation for the song after her gorgeous rendition. Not an easy feat. What a delightful surprise for us all.

Family

Dad makes brilliant motivational podcast for toddlers to help center them for day of chaos

“I’ve got to get my son to stop listening to this podcast. It’s his daily inspiration.”

Photos by Carlos Gutierrez and Ketut Subiyanto|Canva

Dad imagines what his toddler's motivational podcast sounds like

Toddlers are built differently. Something about when they take those first trepidatious steps tells them that they no longer need things essential to human life. It also gives them a supersonic ego boost of invincibility, which is a concerning combination given the size of their heads in comparison to their little bodies and not-so-agile reflexes.

One dad has successfully convinced parents on the internet that toddlers must all listen to this completely made up podcast. Tyler Champagne has brought "Toddler Motivational Podcast" to life with one of his recent Instagram posts. In the video, Champagne, dad of a 2-year-old son and newborn daughter, imagines what it would sound like if his toddler had a motivational podcast.

The dad of two is sitting behind a podcast microphone speaking in a hushed voice that's oddly motivational. Maybe don't play the video while your littles are in the room—no need to give them any ideas.


"I don't sleep at night. Sleep is for elderly people, like my parents in their 30s. When I'm sleeping, I'm not causing chaos, right? When I'm awake, I can continuously cause chaos throughout the day. Concentric circumference. Wanna know what I had for breakfast today? I licked one grape. That's all I need. I don't eat food. Food is a waste of time. When I'm chewing, when I'm swallowing, not causing chaos, okay?" Champagne says while motivational music plays in the background.

This is probably one of the most accurate portrayals of how it feels having a toddler in the home and parents couldn't agree more.

"My toddler is getting rowdy listening to this speech," one person raises a fist.

"How do we all have the same kids," someone cries.

"My toddler watch[ed] this and screamed 'that’s right'," another says.

"Don’t y’all know. 90% of their hydration happens in the bathtub," a commenter reveals.

Well, it may be a weird coincidence that every parent has the same kid. But it also seems totally plausible that once parents are asleep, some sort of motivational podcast like this comes through their baby monitor. Watch the video below, just make sure your toddler is out of earshot.