Nursery rhymes are a staple in many households. From “Mary Had a Little Lamb” to “Five Little Monkeys,” these rhymes have been passed down for generations and shared with children of all ages. However, there is more than meets the eye when it comes to some of these rhymes. Check out our list below and be fascinated by their real origin and twist!
Why do children love nursery rhymes?
Across generations, rhymes are passed down so that people can remember history as a song. When we talk about nursery rhymes, it has been tweaked to not allow children to encounter complex stories. But do you know that most of the popular rhymes have unexpected origins and convey a different concept? Yes, that’s where the twists start. Here are 9 nursery rhymes you wouldn’t have expected to have such a weird history.
London Bridge is Falling Down
We all love this nursery rhyme, don’t we? It sounds like children are being taught sympathy and empathy through this rhyme because they’re worried about a possible collapse. But do you know why the nursery rhyme was written? There are theories backed by certain proof stating that it could be about a Viking raid in 1014. More precisely, Olaf II of Norway is said to have destroyed London Bridge sometime in the early 1000s. So it’s not only about a falling bridge, it’s about an alleged war!
Jack and Jill
This is an excellent poem that teaches children to be careful and not to go out without telling their parents. But the origin is more than that, and the twist is jack and jill are not young kids. They are actually Louis XVI of France and his wife, Marie Antoinette. The line mentioning Jack broke his crown signifies how Louis XVI lost his throne followed by his wife, Maria who no longer was the queen.
Ring Around The Rosie
It’s another nursery rhyme when children spin around holding hands to this nursery rhyme, everyone loves to watch them having fun. But the twist to this turning song is that Rosie is not a person. It is a disease. The rhyme alludes to the Great Plague of London, which occurred in 1665. The line “a pocket full of posies” refers to how they used posies to control the smell of the disease.
Baa Baa Black Sheep
The lyrics to this nursery rhyme are not only about black sheep. It refers to the 13th century’s feud in England. King Edward I, levied an extraordinarily severe wool tax on the farmers. The king received one-third of the wool, the Church received one-third, and the farmers received one-third. The twist here is, the line “one for the little boy” conveys how the farmers had to plead for their share like the boy pleading with the sheep.
Rock A Bye Baby
We all love to hear this nursery rhyme as we sleep because the melody sounds like a lullaby. Parents often would sing this to their child at night because it’s said that this poem was written for the son of King James II of England and Mary of Modena. But the twist is that it’s believed that the boy wasn’t their son. Whoa!
Three Blind Mice
The three blind mice nursery rhyme is already disturbing enough because of how the farmer’s wife cuts off the mices’ tails. But the origin is even worse because the three rats signify three protestant bishops. Nicholas Radley and Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury are the mice that they denote and the farmer’s wife is Mary I. These three men met their consequences just like how the rats encountered.
Old Mother Hubbard
This nursery rhyme makes children feel sad because the poor dog was so hungry because the old mother Hubbard had no food for it. But, in reality, the old mother Hubbard is a man and a dog is also a man. The story is said to go like King Henry (doggie) wanted to end his marriage with his wife, Katherine. But Cardinal Wolsey (old mother) wasn’t able to help him, sadly.
Goosey, Goosey, Gander
This nursery rhyme’s melody is indeed cool but often many complained that this popular rhyme made no sense. Well, you’ll know why now. There were many Catholic priests who refused to adopt the Protestant faith in England. And the man in this rhyme is pushed down from the stairs, denoting how such catholic priests were punished if they weren’t praying like the protestants. This is really bad, isn’t it? So you must make sure to respect everyone’s faith!
Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush
This beautiful nursery rhyme is often sung during children’s games! But do you know that those characters going around the bush so early are actually female prisoners? According to historian R. S. Duncan, this rhymes talks about how the female prisoners had to wake up early to exercise near the mulberry bush. It’s a sad story, isn’t it?
These rhymes are very interesting, don’t you think? But what’s the point of telling them to children when they just want to have fun and sing songs in a good mood? Thus sharing these origin facts and theories will increase their curiosity. They’ll also learn not to do such wrong things because all the above-mentioned twists signify a wrong thing. So your child will grasp how unfair back in time people were. So when you teach them nursery rhymes for communication and educational purposes, do include these interesting facts as well! Have a nice day.