This was written by Shel Silverstein, a famous children's author who also wrote adult material for Playboy
magazine. Silverstein's nephew Mitch Myers, who wrote the book Silverstein Around the World
, says: "What seems to be a timeless Irish folk song was written by a Jewish guy from Chicago. And Shel had written it and recorded it. But back then, not everyone wrote their own material. They were looking for material. And it was just a good fit. It was a very straightforward, simple, lovely melody, and the timeless folksiness of it was complemented by the Irish Rovers' - I'm not going to say 'accent' - but their sound. You know, their very, very ethnic sound just made it that much more magical. Many people think that Shel wrote 'Puff The Magic Dragon
.' I'm like, no, no, no, it's a unicorn.
I would say that Shel was more of a student of fables and legends and folk tales more than he was trying to deliver any kind of a religious message. And I think he found using these common universal folk tales was an efficient way to communicate to a large group of people." (Learn more about Shel Silverstein in our interview with Mitch Myers