We all have learned these classical rhymes as kids but do you now their true meaning and how they originated? Read on to find out the shocking meaning behind each of these rhymes.
1. Humpty Dumpty
In children’s books, Humpty Dumpty is portrayed as a large egg, usually dressed like a little boy. It’s a sad story, as he gets busted up and nobody can fix him. However, the real story behind the rhyme dates back to the English Civil War. Humpty was a huge cannon mounted atop a high wall-like church tower. During the Siege of Colchester, the tower was hit by enemy cannon fire and Humpty suffered a great fall. There was no fixing the cannon or the tower, and the Humpty Dumpty rhyme was born.
2. Ring a Ring o Roses…Pocket full of Roses….
Opinion is divided on whether this rhyme is really about the Black Death which swept through Europe in the 14th century killing 25million people. The explanation didn’t appear until the 1950s. But many maintain that the playground favourite refers to the symptoms of the bubonic plague the ring being the ring of sores suffered by victims before they sneeze and fall down dead!
3. MARY HAD A LITTLE LAMB
Dates back to 1830 and an American poem by Sarah Josepha Hale which is said to have been inspired by a real event when a girl called Mary Sawyer, living in Sterling, Massachusetts, caused commotion by taking her pet sheep to school.
4. BAA BAA BLACK SHEEP
Baa Baa Black Sheep references the importance of the wool industry to the economy from the Middle Ages until the nineteenth century. The rhyme is also thought to be a political satire of the export tax imposed in Britain in 1275 under the rule of King Edward I.
5. JACK AND JILL
This poem originated in France. The characters refer to King Louis XVI, Jack, and his Queen Marie Antoinette, Jill. Jack was beheaded (lost his crown) first, then Jill came tumbling after during the Reign of Terror in 1793.
6. London Bridge is Falling Down
This nursery rhyme refers to the rise and fall of Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry VIII of England. Boleyn was accused of adultery and incest and was ultimately executed for treason..
7. Little Miss Muffet
Little Miss Muffet was written in the sixteenth century by Dr. Muffet, the stepfather of a small girl named Patience Muffet. Dr. Muffet was an entomologist famous for writing the first scientific catalog of British insects.