The Three Wise Men of Gotham is a nursery rhyme that first appeared in 1765 in Mother Goose’s Melody. It was since then republished and readapted countless of times.
The nursery rhyme refers to the villagers in Gotham in south Nottinghamshire who outsmarted King John, avoiding a royal visit by pretending to be insane engaging in absurd tasks whenever royal messengers passed through the village. A royal visit would have meant that a public highway had to be built for the king, something the locals wanted to avoid at all costs.
It is worth to be noted that the Gotham City from the popular comic Batman is called Gotham because of this legend, implying that the city was full of fools.
“Three Wise Men of Gotham” Lyrics
Three wise men of Gotham
Went to sea in a bowl;
And if the bowl had been stronger
My song would have been longer.