7 Nursery Rhymes With Not So Child Friendly Origins!

We all remember our childhood nursery rhymes by heart. One of the most obvious reasons behind that is how much fun they were to recite. But how many times have we stopped and given a thought to the origins of those very rhymes? If this is your first time, then you are in for some real shock! Yes, our childhood nursery rhymes might be fun and all but the origin behind some of them was not that great. It’s safe to say that the tones and singing them with our friends definitely overshadowed the dark truth behind those rhymes. Buckle in for some truth-revealing moment! Here are 7 nursery rhymes that have a not-so-child-friendly origin!

7 Nursery Rhymes With Not So Child Friendly Origins!
Tichnor Brothers, Publisher, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Ring Around The Rosie

This extremely famous 1881 nursery rhyme might be one of your favourites but its origin story is sure dark. Do not let its hymns deceive you, the poem is actually about a deadly disease. Yes, it is alleged that this jolly rhyme depicts the Great Plague of London that was in 1665. The plague in question here wiped about 15 percent of the country’s population! The lyrics are nothing but a story of everyone dying in the end. Hence, the line “Ashes! Ashes! We all fall down”! The “rosies” refers to the rashes that were caused while people use to deceive its smell by a “pocket full of posies”! Dark indeed!

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

‘Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary’ is one of the most sung rhymes. With a hymn so catchy it’s kinda obvious that people never gave a second thought to this poem’s origin. Contrary to the happy rhyme, the origin is believed to be horrendous and dark. It just seems like it’s about a garden but in actuality, it’s about the psychotic killer nature of Queen Mary l. She ruled from 1553 to 1558 and was infamous for her strict Catholicism. Also known as Bloody Mary, she ordered the execution of a number of Protestants. “Silver Bells and Cockle Shells” are actually torturing devices!

Three Blind Mice

A loved rhyme that, in actuality, is about the cruelty of Queen Mary l yet again. If we think of it in that way, she gave a lot of content to make some nursery rhymes! Anyways, the Three Blind Mice is a poem believed to be referring to three Bishops that tried to overthrow the queen. Of course, they failed miserably. The Bishops that the mice represent were Hugh Latimer, Nicholas Radley, and The archbishop. The term blind is used here to represent the blind faith of the bishops on their religious beliefs! 

Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater

Despite the fun hymn, we already knew that Peter was not a good husband to his wife. But the theory of its origin is much darker and deeper. It is believed that Peter the husband here, actually killed his wife. Apparently, he did not like his wife’s occupation, and anger took him for the same reason. Resulting in him killing her and stuffing her body in a pumpkin shell! The same poem has one more theory, which is equally horrifying. According to the second one, it is believed that King John of the 13th century confined a noble’s wife! Left her within a wall while she was starving!

Rock-A-Bye Baby

This one is not at all kid-friendly. The origin might make you regret using this rhyme as a lullaby for your baby. The tunes of the rhyme might be soothing but the origin is very scandalous. It’s believed to be associated with a scandal during the reign of King James ll of England. It is believed that his new-born was actually stolen from someone else so that there is an heir in the family. Basically, the poem is nothing but a cruel baby stealing story!

Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush

Why it is that all the catchy rhymes have a dark origin story or a deep hidden meaning. ‘Here we go round the mulberry bush’ is no different. The rhyme might be fun to sing in classes or during games but the meaning and origin date back to many years back. According to a historian, this rhyme is actually related to an old institution that had female prisoners. Those prisoners were actually exercised around a mulberry bush!

London Bridge Is Falling Down

Not only as a rhyme but this one is a famous song as well. The tune is definitely very catchy and fun to sing. But the origin story is not at all a good one. It is believed that it was actually about an attack that happened in the early 1000s. Of course, as in the name, the attack was done on London Bridge. While the attacker was Olaf ll of Norway. Basically, the rhyme is alleged to be about the 1014 Viking attack!

So which origin story among these caught you by surprise? Would you still prefer to sing them to your kids?

Did you know about this Lab Kit For Kids Filled With Radioactive Material?

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