Children are supposed to be innocent and G rated. There is a society wide held notion that the innocence of kids is of the utmost importance and should be safeguarded for as long as possible.
But that fact is that what is preached and what the children actually experience are two very different things. In fact, there is a threat to children’s innocence right from the nursery class itself and more than anything from nursery rhymes.
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Yes, several English nursery rhymes that children are taught have extremely dark and grim subjects behind them. From historical events to killings to diseases and much more, have been theorized as hidden meanings behind these famous nursery rhymes.
Since the original writers and origins of these poems are unknown and undocumented we don’t know the true inspiration behind these poems. So we are only left with the theories behind the adaptations and various different versions of these poems that you will find below:
1. Jack and Jill:
There are various theories that surround this nursery rhyme that is said to originate from 18th century England. One of them is that the poem is about the reforms attempted by King Charles 1 on the taxes on the liquid measures.
But the other and more creepy theory is that the main characters of Jack and Jill in the poem stand for France’s King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette his wife, who during the French Revolution were accused of treason and were subsequently given a punishment of beheading.
So the lines
Jack and Jill went up the hill,
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down,
And broke his crown; (when he fell down from his high status and eventually lost his head when it got beheaded)
And Jill came tumbling after. (his wife was beheaded soon after)
2. Humpty Dumpty:
There are supposedly 2 different meanings to this late 18th-century poem, one where the object being referred to as Humpty Dumpty is an overweight one, which is wrong but innocuous nonetheless.
The other theory that is said to revolve around the modern version of this poem is that the Humpty Dumpty was actually the cannon that was used by supporters of King Charles I to obtain control over Colchester during the English Civil War (1642 to 1651). The nickname given to this cannon was of Humpty Dumpty and it is believed that during this the cannon was placed on the city ‘wall’ but a shot from the Parliamentary cannon had knocked it off its position making it down on the ground. The Royalists or ‘all the King’s men’ could not ‘put it back together’ or raise it on another wall since it was so heavy.
3. Ring-a-Ring o’ Rosies:
The nursery rhyme that came out in print in 1881 has a much older history when its first appearance has been said to be around 1790s.
It is theorized that the poem revolves around the tragedy of Great Plague of 1655 which is said to have extinguished almost as much as 15% of England’s population.
The common British versions that have the lines:
We all fall down.
are said to refer to the sneezes and symptoms that people suffered from when they had the plague and the next line is said to mean death.
A recent and American version of the poem with the lines:
We all fall down.
The word ‘ashes’ here supposedly refer to how the bodies were burnt during the plague since cities were running about space in cemeteries.
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