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What was mother goose smoking?

  1. Jun 13, 2010 #1
    Have you noticed that most English nursery rhymes somehow make absolutely no sense.

    Little miss muffet runs away from a spider
    Rock-a-bye-baby's cradle will.... fall?
    Humpty dumpty breaks his head
    The three blind mice have their tails cut off
    Jack and Jill tumble down the hill
    Little Bo-Beep loses her sheep
    Goosey Goosey Gander throws a man down the stairs
    The Knave of hearts stole the tarts
    Little boy blue is a lazy bum
    The old woman who lives in a shoe "has so many children" and "whips them to bed without any bread" - essentially a prostitute
    Don't even get me started on Yankee Doodle (Don't tell me you understood it's historical significance when you were three)
    Sing a song of six pence makes absolutely no sense!
    The best one yet
    "... The cow jumped over the moon and the dish ran away with the spoon..."
    just leaves you wondering, "What on Earth..? Did I just recite that crap as a kid??"

    This is just ridiculous. I think mother goose was on pot. And you wonder why we're in the deplorable state of affairs we are in today..... It all starts early.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 13, 2010 #2

    Math Is Hard

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    Little miss muffet runs away from a spider (well, spiders are scary)
    Rock-a-bye-baby's cradle will.... fall? (kinda stupid to put a cradle in a tree, but logical that it would fall)
    Humpty dumpty breaks his head (he's an egg. Eggs are fragile)
    The three blind mice have their tails cut off ( the farmer's wife was probably freaking out - they ran after her)
    Jack and Jill tumble down the hill (it could happen)
    Little Bo-Beep loses her sheep (I think Moonbear has done that at least once)
    Goosey Goosey Gander throws a man down the stairs (missed that one)
    The Knave of hearts stole the tarts (he was hungry?)
    Little boy blue is a lazy bum (that's not how it goes!)
    The old woman who lives in a shoe "has so many children" and "whips them to bed without any bread" - essentially a prostitute (that's not how it goes either)
    Don't even get me started on Yankee Doodle (Don't tell me you understood it's historical significance when you were three) (ok, that one is a little crazy - I guess until you find out that macaroni was a style of hat. At least I think it was.)
    Sing a song of six pence makes absolutely no sense! (I think it was a practical joke on the king)
    The best one yet
    "... The cow jumped over the moon and the dish ran away with the spoon..." (If you read Grimm's Fairy Tales you'll come across inanimate objects and animals doing all kinds of crazy things. Those were just wild times).
    just leaves you wondering, "What on Earth..? Did I just recite that crap as a kid??" (heck, I loved it)

    This is just ridiculous. I think mother goose was on pot. And you wonder why we're in the deplorable state of affairs we are in today..... It all starts early. (LOL Poor Mother Goose)
     
  4. Jun 13, 2010 #3
    lol.
     
  5. Jun 13, 2010 #4

    Vanadium 50

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    Hmm....was Humpty Dumpty considered to be an egg before the Tenniel illustrations of Alice in Wonderland? (And, yes, I know it's technically Through the Looking Glass.)
     
  6. Jun 13, 2010 #5
    They didn't have Doonesbury. These are all "political" jokes; commoners mocking the aristocracy.

    "The three blind mice have their tails cut off."

    Tell me you can't figure this one out. Don't mess with the duke's wife. Ouch.
     
  7. Jun 13, 2010 #6
    Three blind mice? Crown, cross and sword? >_>
     
  8. Jun 13, 2010 #7
    Hey, maybe TubbaBlubba. You may know better than me. I don’t know. But if I were a wittish commoner, I would much prefer to poke fun at my better's sexual habits, then their icons.
     
  9. Jun 13, 2010 #8
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  10. Jun 13, 2010 #9
    Sorry, but I'm not familiar with the sexual habits of the aristocracy, other than the incest.
     
  11. Jun 13, 2010 #10
    Of course you are. They aren't special. They are news-worthy.

    It's not all about sex. Jack Prat, he ate no fat. His wife, she ate no lean. But between the both of them they licked the platter clean.

    What would motivate such a poem?
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2010
  12. Jun 13, 2010 #11

    Ivan Seeking

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    At least the old rhymes used more than six words
    http://www.badgerbadgerbadger.com/
     
  13. Jun 13, 2010 #12

    Dembadon

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  14. Jun 13, 2010 #13

    Moonbear

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    They actually do make a lot of sense put into historical context. Many are even precautionary tales.

    The old lady who lived in a shoe...basically describes an impoverished single mother with a heapload of children she can't afford to care for. Not so cheerful, but maybe the kids listening to the story will make sure they don't have more kids than they can provide for.

    Little Bo Peep teaches patience...when the sheep get lost, sometimes you really can't do anything but wait. Come dinner time, they'll reappear as happy as can be.

    Jack and Jill tell us that if you're going to try to carry heavy buckets of water down a hill, you should watch your step really carefully.

    Same with Humpty Dumpty...don't go climbing around tall walls, because if you fall, you're going to splat and nobody is going to be able to fix you.

    Etc.
     
  15. Jun 13, 2010 #14
    Well, maybe if you were reading the poems to a poet and asked them to give such interpretations, it'd be interpreted as you say. We're talking about toddlers. Do you also recommend playing to them only gangsta rap as they mature? That'd be a perfect 'adult' version of Mother Goose.
     
  16. Jun 13, 2010 #15

    Mentallic

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  17. Jun 13, 2010 #16

    fuzzyfelt

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  18. Jun 13, 2010 #17

    Evo

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    The child's song "ring around the rosie" is about the black plague.
     
  19. Jun 13, 2010 #18

    Ivan Seeking

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  20. Jun 13, 2010 #19
    I'm skeptical. Since it's so short, that interpretation is only based on a couple of references, which may or may not be true. Did they really put posies in their pockets? I think the black plague interpretation is more appealing to people than it being just random silliness.
     
  21. Jun 13, 2010 #20

    lisab

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    I've always heard that "pocket full of posies" refers to the rash that often occurs in plague victims. A rash (colorful like a bouquet of posies) develops on the trunk or chest area (where garments often have pockets).

    Edit: Hmm you may be right, Leroy...

    http://www.snopes.com/language/literary/rosie.asp

    Snopes says it is, in fact, random silliness.
     
  22. Jun 13, 2010 #21

    Evo

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    And I found that on a history site no less! You're right, it seems the earliest version in print was from a 1790 version, not 1665 which would have coincided with the plague in london.
     
  23. Jun 13, 2010 #22

    CRGreathouse

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    Yes, that's my understanding. Somehow I doubt that the source of a 1790 children's rhyme was the experiences of their great-great-great grandparents. :tongue:
     
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