We’ve all sung nursery rhymes and heard these wonderful fairytales, watched fanaticizing television show all our childhood, but ever wandered where these stories and ideas came from
Here’s a compilation of a few theories I had heard or read about that made my jaw drop, I bet it will make yours to, there may be a hundred other theories but these are a few that caught my eye.
[This content is not original written by me; it is inspired by various other people and only edited and compiled by me!]
Did you know …
“Lullaby” is a derivative from Jewish folklore meaning “Lilith abi” which, in the English tongue, simply means “Lilith, go away”.
Lilith was said to have been a succubus so the term “lullaby” was coined in order to protect children.
The use of lullabies and mainly nursery rhymes throughout history were most often used as an educational tool to teach children about past events. Over time, the term “lullaby” stuck and we now think of it as a soothing song used to calm children. However, history shows us that some lullabies are anything but soothing and are more or less horrifying.
- GOOSEY GOOSEY GANDER (1784)
It’s hard to imagine that any rhyme with the phrase “goosey goosey” in its title could be described as anything but feel good. But it’s actually a tale of religious persecution, during the days when Catholic priests would hide themselves in order to say their Latin-based prayers, a major no-no at the time—not even in the privacy of one’s own home. In the original version, the narrator comes upon an old man “who wouldn’t say his prayers. So I took him by his left leg, and threw him down the stairs.” Ouch!
Goosey, goosey, gander,
Whither dost thou wander?
Upstairs and downstairs
And in my lady’s chamber.
There I met an old man
Who wouldn’t say his prayers;
I took him by the left leg,
And threw him down the stairs
- Three Blind Mice
The “farmer’s wife” refers to Queen Mary I, otherwise known as Bloody Mary. The “three blind mice” were noblemen who were convicted of plotting against Queen Mary and as a result, she had them burned alive at the stake.
Three blind mice, three blind mice,
See how they run, see how they run.
They all ran after the farmer’s wife
Who cut off their tails with a carving knife,
Did you ever see such a thing in your life
As three blind mice.
- LONDON BRIDGE IS FALLING DOWN (1744)
There are several theories behind the origin of this rhyme, but the one that really stands out is the one about human sacrifice. It was believed that a bridge would collapse unless a human sacrifice was buried at the foundations. The practice is called immurement, which is the “practice of entombing someone within a structure, where they slowly die from lack of food and water.”
London Bridge is falling down,
Falling down, falling down.
London Bridge is falling down,
My fair lady.
- ROCK-A-BYE BABY (1765)
One interpretation of this famous lullaby is that it is about the son of King James II of England and Mary of Modena. It is widely believed that the boy was not their son at all, but a child who was brought into the birthing room and passed off as their own in order to ensure a Roman Catholic heir to the throne.
KING JAMES II
Rock-a-bye baby, in the treetop
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock
When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall
And down will come baby, cradle and all
- RING AROUND THE ROSIE (1881)
Considering that some of today’s classic nursery rhymes are more than two centuries old, there are often several theories surrounding their origins—and not a lot of sound proof about which argument is correct. But of all the alleged nursery rhyme backstories, “Ring Around the Rosie” is probably the most infamous. Though its lyrics and even its title have gone through some changes over the years, the most popular contention is that the sing-songy verse refers to the 1665 Great Plague of London.“The rosie” is the rash that covered the afflicted, the smell from which they attempted to cover up with “a pocket full of posies.” The plague killed nearly 15 percent of the country’s population, which makes the final verse—“Ashes! Ashes! We all fall down”—rather self-explanatory.
Ring around the rosie
Pocket full of posies,
We all fall down!
- Humpty Dumpty
The version we know today was first printed in 1810. Some people believe it refers to the average village drunkard and others believe it’s in reference to King Richard III of England. He was portrayed as having a humpback but this is just speculation. The story says that King Richard III went to war at the Battle of Bosworth where he fell off of his horse (the wall) and was chopped into pieces by his rivals. There really is no direct evidence as to where history places this simple little quatrain, but there are a number of other theories as well.
KING RICHARD III
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.
- Jack and Jill
This silly nursery rhyme often has people questioning the validity of it simply because water is usually thought to be at the bottom of a hill instead of the top, however, other theories suggest that it has a much deeper meaning than originally thought.
Jack and Jill are assumed to represent Louis XVI of France and Queen Marie Antoinette but this is often questioned since the dates don’t necessarily correlate with each events.
The couple was said to be a greedy couple, carelessly spending money, and investing their life into finer goods (referring to went up the hill to fetch a pail of water – eager gluttony). King Louis XVI was beheaded (lost his crown) in 1793 and Marie Antoinette was then beheaded (came tumbling after) around 10 months after her husbands death.
Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down and broke his crown,
And Jill came tumbling after.
THESE ARE A PART OF MY CHILDHOOD SERIES, THERE WILL BE MORE ABOUT TV SHOWS, DISNEY MOVIES, AND FAIRY TALES
SPREAD LOVE AND KEEP SMILING!!