Ok so I have always known that nursery rhymes had some pretty bad meanings behind them, and I always say to my husband how I felt bad about singing them to dd as most had morbid meanings/stories behind them, I usually only sing the ones that don't have such meanings for But it got me thinking am I the only one out there who feels weird about singing them to my LO when I know what the meaning behind them are? Not saying I don't sing them but I just feel a little sad when singing them ect
Some examples or the rhymes and there meaning that's I have come across are:
Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells, and cockle shells,
And pretty maids all in a row.
I have read many meaning for this rhyme, but one that really made me feel a bit sick was where the rhyme was written about bloody Mary (Queen Mary Tudor)
There is a lot of different things out there about what she did, all of it bad
interpretation of the rhyme goes to the heart of her persona as “Bloody Mary” with silver bells and cockle shells referring to instruments of torture: silver bells being thumbscrews and cockles shells being instruments of torture attached to the genitals. While the pretty maids would be a reference to early guillotine-type devices used to decapitate victims.
Mary, Mary, quite contrary, (bloody Mary)
How does your garden grow? (her personal graveyard)
With silver bells, and cockle shells, (torture instruments)
And pretty maids all in a row. (guillotine)
There are other meaning behind this one I have read, most of them not nice ect
Also Ring around the Rosie
Most know this one.
It was about the plague during the middle ages,
Ring around the Rosie"--refers to a red mark, supposedly the first sign of the plague
"A pocket full of posies"-- refers to sachets of herbs carried to ward off infection, it was believed the plague was spread by bad smells, Where is was actually spread by rats.
"Ashes, ashes" or "a tissue a tissue" reference to the cremation of the dead and "a tissue" sneezing, another sign of infection.
"We all fall down." when they died of the plague.
Rock a bye baby.
Natives Americans were said to make little cradles out of leaves in the tree tops, they would place the baby in there so that when the wind blew it would rock the baby to sleep, but when the branches (bow breaks) the cradle and baby would fall down usually resulting in death.
what are your thoughts? I have noticed many nursery rhymes have many different meanings, what are some meanings you have heard behind them ect?
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31-03-2012 20:50 #1
Nursery Rhymes and there meanings, do you worry about singing them to your children?
31-03-2012 20:56 #2
I'm agree! I've always felt a bit off singing them even tho they are traditional! So generally I'm the weirdo mother that changes the words to songs stuck in my head to be about what we are doing. No two songs are ever the same, nor can I ever remember the chorus I made up one verse ago so that changes too and my DH spends a lot of time laughing at my 'rhyming'
However I know mum sang them to me and I turned out kinda ok
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31-03-2012 21:19 #3
depends on my mood
miss M has been called little miss contrary a lot lately (and i'll sing the nursery rhyme) - but that's more a play on the original meaning.
I try to enjoy them as the childrens songs they have become, rather than the original history - although i do find the original histories quite interesting (although - i believe snopes have disproved the connection between ring a round the rosie and the black plague I'll find the link later )
31-03-2012 22:05 #4
I know humpty Dumpty was a nickname of a huge cannon that used to sit on the castle walls , when the wall was hit by an enemy's cannon , the big cannon fell down and all the kings men couldn't fix it!
And apparently jack and Jill is about the king and queen of France being over thrown!
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31-03-2012 22:06 #5Senior Member
- Join Date
- Mar 2012
- Central west NSW
I dont like the rockabye baby one, never have its sorta unsettling. I dont really sing the ones that bother me, we mostly sing twinkle twinkle little star. Its ds favourite song
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31-03-2012 22:11 #6
I don't like Goosie Goosie Gander.
5 little ducks
row your boat
twinkle little star
5 little speckled frogs
We do sing others, too, but I can't think now.
31-03-2012 22:13 #7Senior Member
- Join Date
- Jun 2011
The weirdest is "Yankee doodle"
31-03-2012 22:16 #8
I had heard the ring around the rosie one before, and always thought it odd to sing rock a bye baby since you are singing about baby falling out of a tree! But I never knew the meaning behind mary, mary quite contrary. How sick!
Although think hush little baby isnt too bad, promising to buy diamond rings etc.. Unless there is a hidden message behind that one?
I have never been able to bring myself to sing rock a bye baby to DD1 or DD2. Also the story o the pied piper is a bit creepy too. A man wondering around town to town luring small children with his 'flute'.
31-03-2012 22:45 #9
It doesn't bother me if I'm honest. I'm not morbid, I just think it's a part of history told in a manner that doesn't frighten children.
It'd be a different story if the lyrics were "Mary Mary, quite contrary, how many people have you killed today with varying instruments of torture and death?" lol.
But they're songs of the past that often contain warnings of experiences that we don't have anymore, and I think that's a worthwhile thing to pass on. I don't think it messes kids up, most kids don't know the meaning of 'ring around the rosie' until they go to highschool and study history, let alone some of the more obscure ones.
31-03-2012 23:01 #10-
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- Home, where my life lies waiting, silently, for me.
Im pretty creative and like to adapt nursery rhymes, fairy tales and songs.
We also sing some from other countries, which are usually a bit less violent
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