The Queen of Hearts

The Queen of Hearts,
All on a summer’s day;
The Knave of Hearts,
He stole the tarts,
And took them clean away.

The King of Hearts,
Called for the tarts,
And beat the Knave full sore;
The Knave of Hearts
Brought back the tarts,
And vowed he’d steal no more.

The Queen of Hearts, Volland


Emerging from the enchanting world of traditional English nursery rhymes, "The Queen of Hearts" stands as a testament to timeless storytelling. First published in 1782, this rhyme has captivated generations with its simple narrative and memorable characters.


At its surface, "The Queen of Hearts" is a charming tale set on a summer's day. The Queen makes delicious tarts, but the Knave, unable to resist, steals them away. The King's demand for justice results in the Knave's punishment, who then returns the tarts, promising never to repeat his misdeed.

Beneath the engaging narrative, the rhyme offers a lesson on moral behavior and the consequences of one's actions. The Knave of Hearts, despite his initial transgression, learns his lesson and vows not to steal again. It provides a tender nudge that our mistakes are not irreparable, and that avenues for contrition and change are perennially open.

Fun Facts

Fascinatingly, "The Queen of Hearts" stands as a unique instance of a nursery rhyme character that has found a place within mainstream culture. She is a key character in Lewis Carroll's iconic "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" (1865), characterized by her whimsical tendency for unwarranted executions. Though this portrayal is not directly linked to the nursery rhyme, the shared name and royalty add an extra layer of intrigue.

Children's Activities

The captivating narrative of "The Queen of Hearts" lends itself to a variety of activities. Children can be encouraged to draw the Queen, King, and the Knave, or perhaps the tarts themselves. They could even reenact the story, playing the roles of the different characters. Additionally, the tale offers an excellent starting point for discussions on morality, actions, and consequences.