E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
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 asss ears, carried by licensed fools. (French, babiole, a plaything; Old French, baubel, a childs 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 lighting fires.
To deserve the bauble. To be so foolish as to be qualified to carry a fools emblem of office.