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High Diddle Diddle the Cat and the Fiddle.....Fairy tales, nursey rhymes

chuck
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High Diddle Diddle the Cat and the Fiddle.....Fairy tales, nursey rhymes

Post by chuck » Fri October 15th, 2010, 4:49 am

I have always been interested in the historical origins of the Oral Folklore tales and rhymes....There must be thousands of these stories and rhymes....I know that all counties and cultures have contributed to these wonderful Folk tales....I'm more familiar with the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson works and I prefer the older and darker tales.....Me thinks these oral/written traditional tales were not told/written for children..We can thank Mother Goose and Disney for sugaring/editing these stories for today's Children.....Many of the stories must have been about the times or a important experience or incident....Curious what others think...."Ring around the Rosy"
Last edited by chuck on Fri October 15th, 2010, 4:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Margaret » Fri October 15th, 2010, 4:59 am

A lot of the Mother Goose rhymes were originally political lampoons.
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Post by Madeleine » Fri October 15th, 2010, 2:57 pm

Ring of Roses was about the plague if I remember rightly.

I think a lot of them have now been Disneyfied beyond recognition, I'm sure I read somewhere that the Seven Dwarves of Snow White fame were based on children who worked in the mines in the past.
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Post by M.M. Bennetts » Fri October 15th, 2010, 3:33 pm

Ring a Ring a Rosy is about Bubonic plague.

Much of Mother Goose is political lampoon, written or collected by one Elizabeth Vergoose who lived and was buried in Boston, Massachusetts.

The frequent theme of wicked stepmothers occurs everywhere from Scotland--Ashpittle and the Twa Brothers--across the whole of Europe, and reflects the reality of life before the 20th century: mortality rate among women was somewhere around 40% during childbirth and men often and generally remarried to provide a mother for their children. And this is true of the poor as well as the wealthy--J.S. Bach remarried for such a reason, for example--though in his case, happily for himself, his new wife and all his 20 children.

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Post by Ash » Fri October 15th, 2010, 3:41 pm

Ring a Ring a Rosy is about Bubonic plague.

That was recently debunked. http://www.snopes.com/language/literary/rosie.asp

This is a subject I've always been intrigued with and did a paper on it in college. There are a few story themes that repeat again and again in every culture thats rather fascinating when you take a look at them. The Grimm Brothers took many of them to creat their tales - which btw are much much darker than the sanitized disney variations. Since such stories were the only entertainment around, children were not exempt from them - they were often in the audience with their parents. And since so much of their world was violent, the violence in these probably didn't faze them, much. The Japanese illustrator Deni has some wonderful books of Japanese folk tales. I remember a book on Native American tales, there are several famous ones, but can't think of that title.


A few interesting fiction twists on fairytales include:

Kissing the Witch by Emma Donogue

Book of Lost Things by John Connely (warning, not for everyone, rather graphic)

Wicked, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, and Mirror Mirror all by Gregory Maguire

The Real Story of the Three Little Pigs as told by A. Wolf and The Horrid Little Pigs are hilarious send ups to the original children's story.
Last edited by Ash on Fri October 15th, 2010, 3:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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sweetpotatoboy
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Post by sweetpotatoboy » Fri October 15th, 2010, 3:48 pm

Heavy Words Lightly Thrown: The Reason Behind the Rhyme by Chris Roberts is a recent, decent book on the story behind nursery rhymes.

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Post by Vanessa » Fri October 15th, 2010, 4:01 pm

There's a lot of controversy about Humpty Dumpty. There are several different theories, one of which is to do with the English Civil War and another with Richard III. Funnily enough, it was the logo on my daughter's primary school jumper - Cardinal Wolsey being the inspiration as he lived in the village for a while (and also arrested at the castle) and there are road names with his name. They also have a Humpty Dumpty competition (as well as a scarecrow one which can frighten one to death when driving past)! :rolleyes:

Little Jack Horner is to do with land, taxes and deeds. And funnily enough again, my aunt had a copy of our family tree on her wall (I know it's supposed to be kept rolled up but she'd had it framed!) and at the top it said 'House of Horner'.

The Cat and the fiddle - rivalry between two farming families from Bolton Abbey in North Yorkshire - the Heys and the Moons. The Moons looked after the Abbey alms dishes and the Heys the annointing spoons. When the monastries were destroyed they chose opposite sides - the Heys choosing to go Protestant and thus 'jumping over' the Moons and taking most of their property. The Priory had two stone carved dogs and a son from one family eloped with a daughter of the other family (the dish ran away with the spoon).

The Crooked Man - General Sir Alexander Leslie of Scotland. The 'crooked sixpence' - Charles I. The 'crooked stile' - the border between England and Scotland. The 'crooked house' - Parliament.

Old King Cole - in AD 219 Coel, Duke of Britain began to build the city of Kaircoel (now Colchester). He had a daughter, Helen, who was a talented musician. King Cole died in 297 AD, hence the word 'old'.

As for Six a Song of Sixpence - one theory is that the 24 blackbirds are the hours of the day, the king was Henry VIII, the queen Katherine and the maid Anne Boleyn: the maid sinned and the blackbird snapping off her nose is the devil.
Last edited by Vanessa on Fri October 15th, 2010, 4:23 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Post by Leo62 » Fri October 15th, 2010, 4:32 pm

[quote=""sweetpotatoboy""]Heavy Words Lightly Thrown: The Reason Behind the Rhyme by Chris Roberts is a recent, decent book on the story behind nursery rhymes.[/quote]

I second that recommendation. The author is a friend of mine, and knows his stuff. He also debunks the "Ring around the Roses"/Plague theory.
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of a good universe next door;let's go
ee cummings

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Post by chuck » Fri October 15th, 2010, 5:26 pm

Thanks all....Your over all knowledge never ceases to amaze me....

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Post by M.M. Bennetts » Fri October 15th, 2010, 6:04 pm

I stand corrected. But you'll still find about a million Brits believe that it's about plague.

Do check out Elizabeth Vergoose, though. She's an under-researched character.

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