Nursery Rhymes For Kids? Think Again.

nursery rhyme meaningsIf you assumed nursery rhymes were for kids, you’re not alone. That’s what I always thought, too. And I know a thing or two about nursery rhymes because they’re huge at my house. Or at least they were. I guess the triplets, at five (and a half, as they’d correct) are getting a bit too big for them. But we read them to our baby. And it won’t be long till he finds himself right in the very center of the nursery rhyme demographic. Which, for what it’s worth, I estimate to be around three-ish.

And I gotta tell you, despite the fact that the triplets loved the nursery rhymes, I did not. Well, at first they were fine, but my goodness did they ever start to bother me. I mean, a fella can only recite Humpty Dumpty so many times, you know what I mean?

But thanks to a little Internet research I recently conducted by visiting the site Nursery Rhymes Lyrics, Origins & History, I’m happy to report that nursery rhymes no longer bother me.

They disturb me.

Why, you might ask? Because they’re not these sing-songy, kid-friendly deals that you and I have long assumed. Nope. Many of these simple rhymes allude to sophisticated stories that are anything but child’s play.

Don’t believe me? Then check out these five nursery rhymes and what their true meanings are. I’ve taken the liberty of giving you a pithy synopsis of each, but have also embedded (very short) videos underneath that detail each of the highlighted rhymes. And I strongly encourage you to click.

Because, yeah, they’re disturbing. But they’re also fascinating! Hope you enjoy.

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  • Georgie Porgie 1 of 5
    Georgie Porgie
    Georgie Porgie has always conjured up two images in my mind. First, George Costanza, because, well, just because. And, second, a little boy who preferred chasing the girlies over hanging with the boys.

    BUT, the real Georgie Porgie was a guy named George Villiers and it turns out he liked hanging with the boys just fine. Or so I'd assume given that he was the longtime lover of England's King James I.

    But Georgie Porgie liked the ladies, too, as evidenced by his affair with Anne of Austria, who was the Queen of France, wife of the French King Louis XIII.

    So, yeah, turns out Georgie Porgie was the bisexual, multi-cultural, royal-adulterous type. With some pretty kick ass facial hair to boot.

  • Ring Around the Rosy 2 of 5
    Ring Around the Rosy
    So, this isn't some lyrical ditty about kids holding hands and skipping in a circle around a flower like I'd always thought.

    It's about the Bubonic Plague (pictured above) and the inevitable death therefrom. (Ashes, ashes.)

    I think I like my version better!

  • Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary 3 of 5
    Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary
    Here I was thinking this was a shout out to some garden enthusiast named Mary, when it turns out it's about Mary Tudor, daughter of King Henry VIII. Her nickname was Bloody Mary, and I'm afraid it wasn't inspired by the drink. Because that, I could be down with.

    Nope. You see, Mary was a staunch Catholic and earned her nickname by having throngs of Protestants executed.

    So the garden in the rhyme is actually a graveyard. And believe me, you do NOT wanna know what the silver bells and cockle shells do.

  • Three Blind Mice 4 of 5
    Three Blind Mice
    You know you're a bad woman if you appear on this list twice. Which is exactly what Mary Tudor does.

    Because the farmer's wife in the Three Blind Mice? Turns out to be ol' Bloody Mary, again. And the three blind mice? Protestant Noblemen. But don't worry. She didn't really dismember them like the rhyme suggests.

    She just tied 'em to a stake and had 'em burned to death was all. Man, I bet that girl was ZERO fun at parties.

  • Jack and Jill 5 of 5
    Jack and Jill
    You know how Jack fell down and lost his crown? Well, he didn't really fall down. Because this thing isn't about a boy and a girl going up a hill. It's about the beheading of French King Louis XVI (Jack) and his wife Queen Marie Antoinette (Jill).

    At least that explains the whole "lost his crown" part. And, yeah, I dare say she did come tumbling after. OH, and by watching that video below? I learned something about beheadings that I'm STILL trying to forget.

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Read more of JCO Multiplied:
The Night I Hung Out With Mindy McCready
Backseat Parenting from the Corner Booth at Waffle House
NYC Nanny Killings: Personalizing the Tragedy
How the DVR Ruined My Vacation in Specific and Parenting in General
15 Things Every Stepparent Should Know
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Check out my personal blog over at JohnCaveOsborne(dot)com

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