Public Domain Super Heroes

Old King Cole

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Old King Cole

Real Name


First Appearance

“Old King Cole” (nursery rhyme) (1700s)

Original Publisher

British Nursery Rhyme

Created by



"Old King Cole" is a British nursery rhyme most likely deriving from ancient Wales. The historical identity of King Cole has been much debated and several candidates have been advanced as possibilities.

The most common modern version of the rhyme is:

Old King Cole was a merry old soul
And a merry old soul was he;
He called for his pipe, and he called for his bowl
And he called for his fiddlers three.
Every fiddler he had a fiddle,
And a very fine fiddle had he;
Oh there's none so rare, as can compare
With King Cole and his fiddlers three.

Public domain literary appearances

  • Old King Cole” (nursery rhyme), Roud Folk Song Index no. 1164.
    • The Nursery Rhymes of England, Collected Principally from Oral Tradition, collected by James Halliwell‐Phillipps, 1842. (HathiTrust)
    • Songs from Mother Goose for Voice and Piano, music by Sidney Homer (op. 36), 1919. (Internet Archive)
  • “The Marriage of Santa Claus,” in The Reading Club and Handy Speaker: Being Serious, Humorous, Pathetic, Patriotic, and Dramatic Selections in Prose and Poetry, for Readings and Recitations, no. 9, ed. George Melville Baker, 1881. (Internet Archive)
  • Old King Cole: An Operetta Given in the Aid of the Cambridge Division of the Massachusetts Indian Association …, by James B. Greenough and F. D. Allen, 1889. (HathiTrust)
  • “Old King Cole,” in Mother Goose in Prose, by L. Frank Baum, 1897. (Internet Archive)
  • King Cole: A Burlesque Operetta in Three Acts, by H. N. Cunningham, music by M. L. Cooley, 1900.
  • Runaway Robinson, by Charles M. Snyder, 1901. (HathiTrust)
  • “Tito’s Home‐made Picture‐Book,” by George Frederick Welsford, St. Nicholas, vol. 31, no. 7, May 1904. (Internet Archive)
  • “A Message to Mother Goose,” by Ellen Manly, St. Nicholas, vol. 32, no. 2, Dec. 1904. (Internet Archive)
  • “Old King Coal,” in Mrs. Goose: Her Book, by Maurice Switzer, 1906. (HathiTrust)
  • “A Dream of Mother Goose,” by J. C. Marchant and S. J. Mayhew, and “A Mother Goose Party,” by G. B. Bartlett, in A Dream of Mother Goose and Other Entertainments1908. (HathiTrust)
  • “Old King Cole,” in Old King Cole and Four Other Stories …, by John Martin (pseudonym of Morgan Shepard), 1911. (Internet Archive)
  • The Marriage of Jack and Jill: A Mother Goose Entertainment in Two Scenes, by Lilian Clisby Bridgham, 1913. (Internet Archive)
  • The Modern Mother Goose: A Play in Three Acts, by Helen Hamilton, 1916. (Internet Archive)
  • “Old King Cole: A Parody,” by G. K. Chesterton, The Living Age, vol. 308, no. 3993, 15 Jan. 1921. (HathiTrust)
  • “There Was a Boy Who Lived on Pudding Lane: A True Account, if Only You Believe It, of the Life and Ways of Santa, Eldest Son of Mr. and Mrs. Claus,” by Sarah Addington, The Ladies’ Home Journal, vol. 38, no. 12, Dec. 1921. (HathiTrust)
  • “Mrs. Dumpty’s Dilemma,” by Sarah Addington, The Ladies’ Home Journal, vol. 39, no. 9, Sept. 1922. (HathiTrust)

Public Domain Comic Appearances

  • Koko and Kola #2
  • Fawcett's Funny Animals #13
  • Four Color #41,59,68,90,103,126
  • Kid Koko #2

Public Domain Comics Inspired by Old King Cole

Old King Cole

“Old King Cole,” illustration from The National Nursery Book, ca. 1870.

See Also

External links

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