Word Origin & History
probably a translation of mid-17c. Fr. contes de ma mère l'oye, which meant "fairy tales." The phrase appeared on the frontispiece of Charles Perrault's 1697 collection of eight fairy tales ("Contes du Temps Passé"), which was translated in Eng. 1729 as "Mother Goose's Tales", and a very
popular collection of traditional nursery rhymes published by John Newbery c.1765 was called "Mother Goose's Melody." Her own biographical story is no earlier than 1806. Old Mother Hubbard, nursery rhyme, was printed 1805, written by Sarah Catherine Martin (1768-1826) but based on earlier material of unknown origin (the name is attested from 1591).