This paper published the account as an April fool's Day joke, though later it took to itself the credit for having believed it.
You may get two hundred to one against him at this blessed moment, and he'll be at twenty to one before April fool Day.
For an April fool's Day gathering, ask each guest to come prepared to do some sleight of hand trick.
1680s; April-gowk (from Old Norse gaukr "a cuckoo") is a northern variant. April Fool's Day customs of sending people on false errands seem to have come to England from France late 17c.; originally All Fool's Day (1712). In Cumberland, Westmorland and northern parts of Lancashire and Yorkshire, however, May 1 was the day for hoaxing, and the fool was a May gosling. That custom was first attested 1791.