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Disturbing Origins of Common Nursery Rhymes

I got these from Cracked.com

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.

We Thought it Meant...

A cute old woman with an interest in horticulture. Oh, and it has the word "cockleshells" We like that.

But Some Experts Say...

Queen "Bloody" Mary was popular enough to frequent a number of nursery rhymes, which is pretty impressive all these centuries later. How many nursery rhymes do you appear in? Yeah, that's what we thought. You need to start doing something with your life.

Anyway, in this delightful tune, Mary is addressed first-hand about all of the poor saps she's sent to the graveyard (her garden). The silver bells refer to instruments of torture that crushed the thumb with the tightening of a screw, and cockleshells (heh) were torture devices that were attached to the genitals. Come on, don't act surprised. They're called cockleshells for God's sake.

The maids in the final line allude to the newly invented guillotine, which was nicknamed The Maiden

Georgie Porgie

Georgie Porgie pudding and pie
Kissed the girls and made them cry
When the boys came out to play
Georgie Porgie ran away

We Thought it Meant...

Some playground creep who seemed to lose his balls at the sight of young men.

But Some Experts Say...

The whole thing refers to a torrid gay sex scandal involving King Charles I.

Georgie Porgie is thought to be a caricature of George Villiers, the 1st Duke of Buckingham and hardcore pretty boy. He was rumored to be a lover to Anne of Austria, the Queen Consort of France who was notorious for just about everything except for being pretty. Or really looking like a woman at all.

So after having a fling with the, er, somewhat masculine Anne, it was a pretty smooth transition for Villiers to switch teams. Not one to do anything half way, the man Villiers chose to woo just happened to be King Charles I. Through the king, Villiers was able to become very powerful and influential, and was even knighted as a--and we're not making this up--Gentleman of the Bedchamber, a title Georgie's parents were surely proud of.

Three Blind Mice

Three blind mice, three blind mice,
See how they run, see how they run,
They all ran after the farmer's wife,
Who cut off their tails with a carving knife,
Did you ever see such a thing in your life,
As three blind mice?

We Thought it Meant...

A trio of unfortunate rodents on a mission to find out where the hell they are, eventually run into an old woman who just happens to be skilled in chopping small defenseless animals to pieces. So this one's actually already kind of disturbing on its own.

But Some Experts Say...

The farmer's wife in the poem is an allusion to the 16th Century Queen "Bloody" Mary I, and her enthusiasm for everything involving torture, death, and basically finding new ways to go down in textbooks as history's biggest bitch. The three mice supposedly represent three noblemen who got together and said, "Gee guys, maybe this Mary lady isn't all there." and were consequently prosecuted for conspiring against the queen.


If you're cringing at the thought of what the cutting off of their three "tails" symbolizes, don't worry. She didn't cut off their dongs. No, she proved she had some form of human empathy, and simply burning those suckers at the stake instead.

From Cracked.com

Do you have any?

 
Lucky209

Asked by Lucky209 at 5:09 PM on Mar. 28, 2011 in Just for Fun

Level 28 (35,060 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (5)
  • I want to know why peter the pumpkin eater had to keep his wife in a pumpkin shell,lol
    wheresthewayout

    Answer by wheresthewayout at 5:22 PM on Mar. 28, 2011

  • Ring Around the Rosies is all about symptoms and dying from the Black Plague.
    anng.atlanta

    Answer by anng.atlanta at 5:17 PM on Mar. 28, 2011

  • Scary!!!!
    momoftaterbug

    Answer by momoftaterbug at 5:19 PM on Mar. 28, 2011

  • Well, I have one volume of "The Real Mother Goose", and two volumes of "The Christian Mother Goose" to counteract it.
    CoffeeWriter

    Answer by CoffeeWriter at 5:31 PM on Mar. 28, 2011

  • Creepy!
    tspillane

    Answer by tspillane at 7:44 PM on Mar. 28, 2011

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