"Jake and Hairy Win 1480 World Championship Hide 'n' Seek Contest"
Frank "Frenchy" Maître
The 1480 Decadal Hide 'n' Seek Championship was so hotly contested wars nearly broke out as national champions reviled each other in the media, and occasionally in person. In 1470, when The Most Serene Republic of Venice took the crown from 1460's winner, the Principality of Wallachia, international fisticuffs nearly broke out until someone pointed out to the Venetians that Serene Republics don't do that sort of thing.
The Provençal team of Jaume (colloquial Occitan for Jacob, or Jake which he preferred) and his best buddy Pelut (HairyGuy in Occitan, from the Hebrew male name Esau) had slowly worked their way up the ranks in 15th-century tag-team hide 'n' seek tournaments in Provençal and Greater Languedoc (southwestern France today). Their talent for mimicry was outstanding. During the 1465 All-Languedoc playoffs they passed themselves off as the Archbishop of Béziers for a month and a half until they were caught together at an all-night ratatouille parlor.*
The 1480 championship raged on for nearly a year until all other contestant teams had been discovered and Jaume and Pelut declared the winners. But where were they? Despite bill postings and town criers, it was an entire month before the dynamic duo were uncovered, quite by accident.
"Frenchy" has captured the moment of their disclosure admirably. The woman in the picture, whose name has been lost, ran a clandestine costermongers syndicate. She had been under the watch of suspicious officials as a covert agent of the Kingdom of Naples, engaged in quince trafficking. When her cover was blown she attempted to escape via a concealed cloth ladder. Unbeknownst to her the scullery girl had been cutting off the bottom of the ladder for cleaning rags over several months, so her escape was foiled and the policewoman grabbed her.
A rapid frisking of her person by the chief detective revealed the two hide 'n' seekers! Imagine everyone's astonishment when it turned out they had disguised themselves as newborns all that time, perhaps aided by their small statures and tendency to cry loudly at every opportunity. They had moved from woman to woman as opportunities presented themselves.
During a post-game interview with the sports media they remarked that they were glad it was over,
This is the only painting by the artist ever found. It is suspected that the artist's name was a pseudonym, as he painted it while in disguise during a tag-team hide 'n' seek competition. His partner gained some fame as "Sandro Botticelli," and was forced to keep producing artworks for years until the coast was clear.
* According to the rules of medieval tag-team hide 'n' seek competitions, both participants had to be caught at the same time in the same place. In the playoffs prior to their 1465 capture they were disguised as itinerant seltzer vendors. Pelut was discovered in Narbonne when he inadvertently sneezed in the wrong dialect. But at the same time Jaume was in Nîme at a seltzer vendors convention, so Pelut had to be released, with much grumbling from local authorities, who could not claim the capture prize.