A fool should never hold a bauble in his hand. “ `Tis a foolish
bird that fouls its own nest.” The bauble was a short stick, ornamented
with ass's ears, carried by licensed fools. (French, babiole, a
plaything; Old French, baubel, a child's toy.)
If every fool held a bauble, fuel would be dear.
The proverb indicates that the world contains so many fools that if
each had a separate bauble there would be but little wood left for
To deserve the bauble.
To be so foolish as to be qualified to carry a fool's emblem of
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894