Nursery rhymes are the most wonderful source for children to learn and a source of joy to adults. The wordings of a rhyme, with the rhythm it is read, everything takes us back to our childhood, the happier times. But did you know the shocking stories behind the nursery rhymes? After knowing the stories you’ll think about them differently. We bring you a short collection of 5 dark nursery rhymes with hidden meanings:
#1 Ring A Ring O’ Roses
Ring-a-ring o’ roses,
A pocketful of posies
We all fall down!
This rhyme is a very common poem as we often see children singing this tune while playing. The words of the poem refer to the bubonic plague. Round rosy red marks on screen were signs of the deadly plague. It was believed, the smell of posies immune you from the epidemic. So, the people used to fill their pockets with the sweet-scented herbs. This outbreak washed away a large amount of the population of Britain in the 17th century. Thus, it ends with “We All Fall Down”. The truth behind nursery rhymes is at times a sad reflection of our society.
#2 London Bridge Is Falling Down
London Bridge is falling down,
Falling down, falling down.
London Bridge is falling down,
My fair lady.
We often see a group of children playing, where two children holding each other’s hands, to make an arch with their arms while the other children pass under it. At the end of the song, the arch is lowered trapping a kid in it. This popular nursery rhyme has a million of the theories behind it. But, one of the most popular theories behind this is about children sacrificed to make the bridge. It was believed the bridge would fall down if children are not buried into the groundwork believing their souls will protect the bridge from collapsing. This definitely counts as one of the dark nursery rhymes.
#3 Mary Mary Quite Contrary
Mary, Mary, quite contrary
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockleshells
And pretty maids all in a row.
Some dark nursery rhymes are about injustice. The Mary in this rhyme refers to Mary I, the daughter of Henry the VIII. Queen Mary was an orthodox Catholic and ruthlessly tortured and murdered countless followers of Protestant beliefs. Silver bells and cockle shells have nothing to do with making the garden grow, but they were tools of torturing people and the maiden was an instrument used for beheading people and graveyard has been replaced by the garden in this poem.The Mary in this rhyme refers to Mary I, the daughter of Henry the VIII. Queen Mary was an orthodox Catholic and ruthlessly tortured and murdered countless followers of Protestant beliefs. Silver bells and cockle shells have nothing to do with making the garden grow, but they were tools of torturing people and the maiden was an instrument used for beheading people and graveyard has been replaced by the garden in this poem.
#4 Jack and Jill
Jack and Jill went up the hill,
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down,
And broke his crown;
And Jill came tumbling after.
The roots of this poem are so dark that they should not be allowed anywhere near children. Jack and Jill are actually France’s Louis XVI and his wife, Marie Antoinette, who was convicted of treason during the French Revolution, otherwise known as the Reign of Terror, and beheaded. Jack or Louis XVI, lost his “crown,” i.e. his throne and his head. And Jill or Marie Antoinette’s head soon came tumbling after. Some disturbing nursery rhymes should be kept out of reach of children for sure.
#5 Georgie Porgie Pudding and Pie
Georgie Porgie pudding and pie,
Kissed the girls and made them cry
When the boys came out to play,
Georgie Porgie ran away.
Georgie Porgie refers to English courtier George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, who was rumoured to be King James I’s lover. While there is no proof of this relationship, it was evident that King James was very fond of Villiers, who was given a lot of money and titles. Villiers’ good looks are very well documented though, along with his love for women. It is said that Villiers earned the wrath of several husbands whose wives he had sex with, who did not always consent to it. We get why the girls cried, and why Georgie Porgie ran away when the “boys came out to play.” This definitely deems as one of the creepy nursery rhymes.
These were just some of the dark nursery rhymes with hidden meanings. Have we ruined your childhood yet?
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