Nursery rhymes are evil. Seriously, how messed up is it that we sing happy little songs about death, kidnapping, mutilation, animal abuse, slavery, the plague, and monsters? To our children! Maybe they are partially to blame for our HORROR addictions? Now that I’m an adult, I see disturbing sexuality hidden in some of these, too. (Or, perhaps I’m just a sexual deviant & read The Claiming Of Sleeping Beauty too many times.)
Let’s talk about the names behind the nursery rhymes & fairy tales.
The Brothers Grimm. Like… The Grimm Reaper? Grimm is defined as forbidding & uninviting. Mother Goose? Geese are assholes! Have you ever been chased down by a demented bird with teeth and a taste for blood? I have.
This pic is what sparked this blog post – a Betty Page type as Little Miss Muffett.
Although LMM doesn’t have a really sinister background, it includes spiders. Spiders suck. Little Miss Muffet was the first “documented” person with arachnophobia. And, WTF IS a tuffet?
Little Miss Muffet
Sat on a tuffet,
Eating her curds and whey;
Along came a spider,
Who sat down beside her,
And frightened Miss Muffet away.
Quite contrary Mary is Queen ‘Bloody’ Mary. She’s addressed first-hand about all of the poor saps she’s sent to the graveyard (her garden). The silver bells refer to instruments of torture that crushed the thumb with the tightening of a screw, and cockleshells (heh) were torture devices that were attached to the genitals.
The maids in the final line allude to the newly invented guillotine, which was nicknamed The Maiden.
Mary Mary quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockleshells
And pretty maids all in a row.
Queen ‘Bloody’ Mary is enough of a sociopath to have more than one nursery rhyme. Three Blind Mice was also rumoured to be about her. The farmer’s wife in the poem is an allusion to “Bloody” Mary, and her enthusiasm for everything involving torture, death, and basically finding new ways to go down in textbooks as history’s biggest bitch. The three mice supposedly represent three noblemen who got together and said, “Gee guys, maybe this Mary lady isn’t all there.” and were consequently prosecuted for conspiring against the queen. About the cutting off of their tails… I’ll give you three guesses as to what that symbolizes. The first two guesses don’t count.
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?
Even if the back-story of Bloody Mary is b.s., it’s still a story about a trio of unfortunate rodents on a mission to find out where the hell they are, eventually run into an old woman who just happens to be skilled in chopping small defenseless animals to pieces. It’s actually already kind of disturbing on its own.
Georgie Porgie? Torrid gay sex scandal.
Pudding and pie? Use your imagination. Your filthy, filthy imagination.
Georgie Porgie pudding and pie
Kissed the girls and made them cry
When the boys came out to play
Georgie Porgie ran away
Hey Diddle Diddle?
Star-crossed, socially unacceptable lovers running away together.
Interracial, homosexual, or religious differences?
All of the above. Plus more, I’m sure.
Goosey Goosey Gander?
Whores, rapists, and VD.
Pop Goes The Weasel?
Either animal cruelty of a statement about poverty.
Ring Around The Rosey?
The Black Death.
Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater?
Kidnapper, sadist, and social deviant.
No hidden meaning on these, but they’re disturbing nonetheless –
Jack & Jill?
Dude cracked his skull and his Betty tumbled down quickly thereafter.
Infant stashed in the tree so parents could party, baby falls & splats.
If the bridge is crumbling into the water, doesn’t that mean cars full of people are too?
The Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe had multiple brats and no baby daddy(s) to speak of. She starved and beat the hell out of her kids. Teaches the kiddies that Social Services & ADC won’t ever rescue them.
Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep and the sing-song It’s Raining, It’s Pouring, both have people going to sleep, only to never awake again! I remember being afraid of Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep as a child. I cried and begged my mom not to make me say my prayers before bed!
It’s no wonder that sweet little kids grow up to be the Geins, Dahmers, and Mansons of the world if this is the kind of literature pounded into our subconscious from birth.
This post wouldn’t be complete without a mention of 2 Live Crew –
Or Andrew ‘Dice’ Clay –
What nursery rhyme or bedtime story scared the bejesus out of you as a child? Do you repeat these to your kids? Why or why not?
P, L, & N ❤