After the deranged stable boy murdered the teasing jester, everyone from the court took their swords and cut the jester's body into pieces. Each took a portion of the corpse and wore it around their necks to honour the jester. In life, the jester had irritated, outraged and insulted each of them and he had done so in a way that had all the others laughing when the respective targets were singled out. The king laughed when the courtier was mocked and the courtier laughed when the king was mocked and they both laughed when the usher was mocked and so on and so on in myriad permutations. When the sullen stable boy was mocked everyone laughed but the boy could not see the humour because he had been driven mad by a life of toil, marginalisation and disregard. The boy lashed out and killed the jester. The jester died in the middle of the court with incomprehension in his eyes. A sticky pool of dark blood poured out from the jester's convulsing body and everyone slowly lifted their feet as it flowed toward their toes.
The stable boy was beheaded a short time after and the people of the court cheered. No one made any jokes about anyone else ever again and nothing ever improved for the lives of stable boys. In fact, stable boys were treated worse than ever before, with suspicion added to their toil, marginalisation and disregard.
The ghost of the jester watched and wept because he couldn't make jokes when deceased and knew that no one really appreciated the leveller that laughter was in life. He saw that everyone was now wearing a piece of him around their necks and realised that he didn't own himself in death. There was still laughter in the court but it was the false kind. People would laugh at each other's jokes, not because they were funny but because they didn't want to make each other angry. This pretence often became too much to bear and members of the court would sometimes lose their reason and take the life of another. The king, who had read the eulogy at the jester's commemoration, killed the most.
Members of the court still died but they didn't die of laughter.