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"Simple Simon"
Simple Simon 1 - WW Denslow - Project Gutenberg etext 18546.jpg
William Wallace Denslow's illustrations for Simple Simon, from a 1901 edition of Mother Goose
Nursery rhyme
Published 1764

"Simple Simon" is a popular English language nursery rhyme. It has a Roud Folk Song Index number of 1977.

Lyrics

The rhyme is as follows;

Simple Simon met a pieman,
Going to the fair;
Says Simple Simon to the pieman,
Let me taste your ware.
Says the pieman to Simple Simon,
Show me first your penny;
Says Simple Simon to the pieman,
Indeed I have not any.
Simple Simon went a-fishing,
For to catch a whale;
All the water he had got,
Was in his mother's pail.
Simple Simon went to look
If plums grew on a thistle;
He pricked his fingers very much,
Which made poor Simon whistle.
He went for water in a sieve
But soon it all fell through
And now poor Simple Simon
Bids you all adieu!

Origins

Simple Simon 2 - WW Denslow - Project Gutenberg etext 18546
Simple Simon and the pie man, according to Denslow

The verses used today are the first of a longer chapbook history first published in 1764. The character of Simple Simon may have been in circulation much longer, possibly appearing in an Elizabethan chapbook and in a ballad, Simple Simon's Misfortunes and his Wife Margery's Cruelty, from about 1685. Another possible inspiration was Simon Edy, a beggar in the St Giles area in the 18th century.

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