The position of a quartorzième (fourteenth en francais) is not uncommon in dinner parties across the world; it is a person invited to a function at the last minute to ensure that over thirteen people will be at the dinner.

Why is the extra mouth so essential? The belief, partially derived from the Bible, is that the first to rise from the table at a party of 13 will die within the year; proof is seen in that Judas, who was the first to rise from the Last Supper, was also the first diner there to die. (Ignored in all this is all the times Jesus and the Apostles must surely have dined together before.)

This is mirrored in Norse mythology when Loki invited himself to a feast, making himself the 13th guest and his sitting being held responsible for the subsequent death of Balder.

Closer to our world, Franklin Delano Roosevelt would frequently arrange for his secretary Grace Tully to fulfil this position at lunch and dinner parties when the guest total unexpectedly ended up unauspicious.

aphexious says oh, creepy; i just cast the fourteenth vote on quatorzième. and a good thing, too.

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