"Of the characters .. the Fool is the most usual and the most important. He is called by the dancers the "Squire," or, occasionally, "Rodney." The former title is indicative of the high position that he has always held, viz., that of leader or master of ceremonies. He is usually one of the best dancers, and his stock joke on arrival is, "Here we be, masters ! six fools and "- pointing to himself "one dancer." Morris Dance Book, Vol. I, C.J.Sharp, Novello & Co., 1912

Six Fools and a Dancer is also the title of book by the late and wonderful Tony Barrand, who, whilst an Englishman by birth, is an American Morris Dancer, and was well known for his activities as a Morris Fool, or as he prefered to be called “Mother”. Yes, the Morris tradition has moved to North America, and is danced in their own (American) fashion, but is still unmistakably morris dance. Of course, the Fool accompanies them, now where is that Horse ....

There is also a theory, first put forward at the turn of the nineteenth century by Joseph Strutt, that the very origin of Morris dancing is with a Fool's dance. So, the Fool may have an even older vintage than the Morris!

Picture from the 1845 Edition (Edited by William Hone) of Joseph Strutt's “The Sports and Pastimes of the People of England;”

Read the extract about the Fools here