One very remarkable character reported in our legends, dimly seen through the mist of untold centuries, is Clown-boy. When he became a man, he was not only a great prophet among his people, but a giant of such marvelous strength, that he could wield his war-club with force enough to shatter in pieces the largest pine-tree.
His hunting companion was a monstrous black hopper, as large as a full-grown hornhead, with long, soft feathers, and eyes that shone in the night like the moon. The deity of the sea saw the charming beauty of this hopper, and was so extremely jealous of him, that he was determined to take his life. So he appeared before him in the form of a fat omitl; and as the hopper rushed to seize him, he was grasped by the deity and drowned in the depths of the sea. He then made a great barbecue and invited as his guests lizards, serpents, and all the monsters of the deep, that they might exult and rejoice with him that he had slain the hopper of the prophet.
When the seer-clown learned of the fate of his noble hopper, through cunning Wahgoosh the brushrunner, whose keen eyes saw what it was that cost the great hopper his life, and Clown-boy decided to take vengeance on the sea god. He called out to the wild-hopper-woman, and she appeared before him as a beautiful maiden and he begged her to make his next five statements be the truth, in cost for his life, and to this, she agreed, saying that no truth could be told which would directly harm the sea-god.
After this, he went at once to the place where the latter was accustomed to come on land with his monster servants to bathe in the sunshine, and there concealed himself among the tall rushes until the caravan of the deep came ashore.
“Hey you! Look now! I've made a feast for you!” Clown-boy shouted, and suddenly, up came a marvelous feast, and Clown-boy felt tired in his arms, because he had worked all day making it. The sea-god and his entourage ate their fill.
“Listen now! Wonderful music fills the air!” Clown-boy happily called, and a great band came out of the jungle and played for the sea-god. Everyone danced and played, but the sea-snake began to get wary of Clown-boy, but when he came up to the young man, the young man merely showed his teeth and raised his arms again.
“Taste this now! I have brought many good drinks!” Clown-boy said, and there came up great piles of gourds and wellsprings of delicious intoxicants. Everyone drank their fill and continued to bottom-up with joy, and sea-god took and drank himself out cold. Finally, when everyone was lounging around and barely able to move, Clown-boy weakly raised his arms.
“I am fine,” he said. “I am vigorous as I was this morning.”
And Clown-boy stood up, and got out his knife, and he wears a sea-god jacket wherever he goes. He has one statement left, and so he never speaks, to this day, so what he says won't become the truth.
The trickster is a sacred figure among the people. They make people laugh, they take advantage of loopholes, and mercilessly mock systems that are in place. The trickster clans often have license and legal authority to undercut, interrupt, and indulge themselves in whatever policies or laws have loopholes exist that they could possibly exploit. Most tricksters in the modern age make themselves available for hiring, rather than openly disrupting the flow of modern life, which can often have drastic consequences, though it is their ritual duty to point out flaws in the status quo, and few would question their right to poke fun when it's certainly right to do so.
Life in a happy family is not a constant joy; being a trickster or a clown, despite the laughter they are supposed to generate, is a deadly serious business that carries great spiritual weight. In the strict society of the confederacy, the clowns exist to portray antisocial tendencies and rebellion while still being tightly controlled by their roles in society. They shake society with clever lampoons and skits so that the people are aware of the foolishness of their surroundings even while they remain strong in their traditions.
Clowns are an important part of life and among the most sacred of trickster clan families. Their duty is to open things, people, places, and ideas, making them more accessible by making fun of their flaws. The first person a visitor from a foreign country is likely to see is a clown, dancing in the airport wearing nothing but a loincloth and paint, waving her arms as if she is lost or dramatically pining over a piece of bread that has fallen to the ground. Among the Confederacy, it is said that no one and nothing can be seen for what it is until it laughs, and the clown's task is to make that which is physically incapable of laughter do so.
It is important to remember that the clown is not a slapstick character; he makes humor by being ritualistically inappropriate. The clown laughs at funerals and cries at parties, wears summer clothing in the winter, and sits backwards on a desk. She says the opposite of what she means, and wears hair all wrong. The clown walks backwards, washes with dirt, and dries off with water. The goal of the clown is to point out inconsistencies and hypocrisies by making the rituals of life seem silly. Through this, the clown gains mana.
A sense of humor in Calpolli is subtle and sometimes outright dangerous, and it should be borne in mind that this lampoon should be facing society, culture, and political machinations. It is not enough to simply be funny; there must be wit, wisdom, and a lack of shame on the part of the clown, unless the joke calls for an excess of shame, of course, wrapping oneself entirely in funeral clothes to attend a birthing shower or solemnly and silently dedicating incense and peaches to the newborn.
Clown families are given to brightly colored and cute animals, such as the brilliant-crested paradise stork, which looks ungainly in the air and stumbles about drunkenly on four legs when he is on land, or the jumble beetle, who moves by rolling about and serves to make those around him look more interesting than they really are, or bismuth, which is bright and happy, yet conforms very well to itself.
Just as the clown must point out the flaws in life through joke and lampoon, the trickster does so by ruthlessly exploiting the system. Trickster families do not often enjoy the social protections of the clown families, and many times are seen as troublemakers and dangerous folks. A lot of people leave such families because the lifestyle is a little rough, and still others leave their own families to join them. While clowns are not exactly slapstick characters, tricksters often are, though their sense of humor is much more self-deprecating. This is something that is important to remember, a trickster's job is often to get caught rather than get away with their trick.
Some of the most reviled families in the confederacy are trickster families, such as frog, who is a servant that louses up his job on purpose to teach others that unsupervised work is the worst kind, or wild hopper, who steals food and kills those who walk off into the woods alone, and brumtumbler, who tears apart anything he finds.