Old King Cole was a merry old soul, and a merry old soul was he;
He called for his pipe in the middle of the night
And he called for his fiddlers three.
Every fiddler had a fine fiddle, and a very fine fiddle had he;
Oh there’s none so rare as can compare
With King Cole and his fiddlers three.
This is an interesting one because it’s not entirely clear exactly which king, with the name Cole, this is referring to. I see 3 contenders listed here:
The origins of the Nursery rhyme lyrics of Old King Cole are based in history dating back to 3rd century. There is considerable confusion regarding the origins of Old King Cole as there are three possible contenders who were Celtic Kings of Britain, all who share the name Coel (which is the Celtic word for the English word Cole). Historia Regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain) by Geoffrey of Monmouth (1110-1155) refers to a King Cole as a king of the Britons.
My interpretation is that, whichever king this was, he was a king who liked to party, and late into the nights pretty often. Whoever created this rhyme was likely a witness to at least some of the festivities, likely a servant of some kind. That’s just my best guess, as I have no particular expertise in this field of history.
Prompt: The Nursery Rhyme Challenge