Looking deeper.

It’s a given that we’ve all heard great little nursery rhymes growing up and maybe you’ve even sung them to you’re own children (or you know neices, nephews, grandchildren, etc etc) but have you ever wondered where they originated from?

I saw a post today that said “did you know humpty dumpty isn’t actually an egg”…….my mind was blown….A) because no I did not B) the actual nursery rhyme doesn’t make mention to him being an egg, and C) What the hell is humpty?

Straight to google I went, we all know if you can’t find the answer on google then there is no answer. (insert eye roll here)

What I found blew my mind all over again. The good old nursery rhyme ‘Humpty Dumpty’ was first printed in 1810, Lewis Caroll’s book ‘Alice through the looking glass’ was where Humpty was shown as a round egg. One of the ideas about who or what humpty is/was that is taken seriously is that he was a canon used during the English Civil War.

I decided to google other nursery rhymes and found that most of them have a dark and grotesque meaning or origin.

Ring-a-rosie – The Black Plague, Jack and Jill – An affair where Jack died from falling on a rock and Jill died during childbirth, See Saw Margery Daw – Terrible conditions for child workers in the Victorian period, Rubber Dub Dub – Men peeking at women bathing!!

So, there you go. There’s so many more but that was enough to make me sit there and have no words. I do wonder though, how did we come to have cute little rhymes that have such dark meanings? Why are we still singing them cheerfully? I don’t think I’ll be singing any more nursery rhymes to my kids, I think I might stick with ‘Soft kitty’ as a bed time song – thanks Sheldon and The Big Bang Theory!

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2 Comments

  1. I wonder if the idea of the nursery rhyme was to help children process concepts and situations that would otherwise have been too much to bear, about very real situations happening around them? Or else maybe we just like the sinister and the darkness…

    Liked by 2 people

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