Simple Simon (1764)

Simple Simon

Medium: nursery rhyme

Publication date: 1764

Publisher: unknown

Roud Folk Song Index Number: 19777

2 characters in this story:

(Click links for info about character
and his/her religious practice, affiliation, etc.)
Pub. #
Simple Simon Simple Simon (Simon)
(lead character)
lead character
  [from nursery rhyme; met a pieman, going to fair] MGM 20
the pieman the pieman supporting character
  [in nursery rhyme, met Simple Simon, going to the fair] Celebrity Productions 5

The nursery rhyme known today as "Simple Simon" appears as the initial verses of a longer chapbook history which was published in 1764. This is the earliest known printed version of the nursery rhyme, but the character "Simple Simon," and quite possibly a version of this nursery rhyme, was probably extant long before this publication. The ballad Simple Simon's Misfortunes and his Wife Margery's Cruelty, which dates to about 1685, is probably about the same character. Whether or not the pieman is featured in that earlier work, we do not know. It is likely that the genesis of Simple Simon as a folk character predates the pieman.