Sing a Song of Sixpence is an English nursery rhyme dating back to at least the eighteenth century. References to the title can be traced back even further, including William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. Some scholars contend it stems from a 16th practice of amusing dinner guests with live birds placed in pies, while others cite the wedding of Marie de Medici and Henry IV of France as inspiration.
The most common form of the rhyme is
When the pie was opened, the birds began to sing; Wasn't that a dainty dish, to set before the king?
The king was in his counting house, counting out his money; The queen was in the parlour, eating bread and honey.
The maid was in the garden, hanging out the clothes; When down came a blackbird and pecked off her nose. ”
The rhyme itself has been referenced for centuries, including Agatha Christie's short story Sing a Song of Sixpence, Rankin/Bass' The Last Unicorn, The Three Stooges' short Sing a Song of Six Pants and the Doctor Who episode "The End of Time."
- In The Sesame Street Dictionary, the Sesame Street Players put on a pageant of the nursery rhyme, with Cookie Monster taking on the role of the queen.
- The book Sing a Song of Sixpence and Other First Songs for Baby features the nursery rhyme, with Zoe and Ernie featured on the cover as the King and Queen.
- The book and tape set Sing Me a Story! features Kermit the Frog singing the classic nursery rhyme, with him dressed as the king on the cover of the book.
- The Muppet Babies book Big Book of Nursery Rhymes & Fairy Tales features the Babies acting out the story.
- The Sesame Street Music Player Storybook features the song on special discs that can be played in the book.
- In The Sesame Street Treasury Volume 4, the rhyme is acted out with The Count, a Twiddlebug, Ernie, Bert, Cookie Monster, Betty Lou and Anything Muppets.
- In the book series Read Along with Elmo, one of the board books features the nursery rhyme.
- Lefty the Salesman feeds four and twenty blackbirds with birdseed in Storybook ABCs with the help of Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk. The result makes the Princess who wouldn't laugh laugh.
- Six monsters, including Elmo and Telly Monster dance in a version of the rhyme in Sesame Street's Mother Goose Rhymes.
- The Sesame Street Treasury Volume 11 features Little Jerry singing about a pocket full of rhinoceroses in "Big Bird's Ridiculous Rhinoceros Rhymes."
- An animated Sesame Street insert, "Sing a Song of Fourteen," borrows the melody from the rhyme. In the cartoon, 14 ducks are flown into the king's pot and when opened, begin singing "Be kind to your web-footed friends...."