Fishes and Fools

poisson-d-avrilWe lived in Brittany for 14 years and our children went to school to the local primary school there. We discovered that on 1st April each year, the local children played ‘Poissons d’Avril’. They used to play it on us too. It involved cutting out lots of little paper fish from a sheet of paper and colouring them. Then the children tried to stick them on each other’s clothes, preferably on the back so they were undetected and the recipients did not know they had a fish hanging off their backs and looked ridiculous. Our two little monsters added to the fun by putting paper fish in satchels, desks, drawers and food, under the plates and on pillows. Then the children would shriek delightedly ‘Poissons d’Avril!’ because they had fooled their parents or friends or siblings. We would be eating lunch and suddenly a fish would appear on the mashed potato. Or I would pick up my glass of wine and find a fish swimming around in it! Or as one got into the bath there would be fish floating on the surface. They were put in our beds, in the pages of our books, in our shoes – anywhere. Such a great game! Such a good idea!  But only on 1st April. It was the French – or perhaps Breton – way of playing April Fool. I remember those days with huge delight. All that fishy humour! So many paper triumphs and willing fools. Of such things are memories made.

 

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