The very first book I ever received was a Mother Goose book of nursery rhymes. Recently, my daughter found the book and asked me to read it with her. As we read, she became more and more shocked. She sees the nursery rhymes through modern, politically correct eyes. Nursery rhymes when viewed through modern eyes are pretty scary.
Don’t believe me? Just read them for yourself:
Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home,
Your house is on fire and your children are gone,
All except one and that’s little Anne,
For she crept under the frying pan.
A cautionary tale about working outside the home, I’m sure. Poor ladybug is probably out working when her house catches on fire and all her kids die except for Anne, who probably has 3rd degree burns from hiding under the frying pan.
Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater,
Had a wife and couldn’t keep her!
He put her in a pumpkin shell,
And there he kept her very well.
Oh, Peter. Sounds like you need to divorce that wife of yours for running around on you instead of keeping her hostage in a pumpkin shell.
There was an old woman who lived in a shoe,
She had so many children she didn’t know what to do.
So she gave them some broth, without any bread,
And whipped them all soundly and put them to bed.
There’s a shining example of good parenting right there. First she starves the children and then she beats them. Child abuse! Quick, someone call CPS!
Speaking of child abuse, what about this?
Little Polly Flinders
Sat among the cinders,
Warming her pretty little toes.
Mother came and caught her,
And whipped her pretty daughter
For spoiling her nice new clothes.
Why wasn’t anyone watching poor little Polly? Let your kid sit in a FIRE? And then beating the kid because she ruined her clothes? Chiiiiiild abuse!
But they’re not all bad, right? I mean, what about this one?
Hey diddle diddle,
The cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the moon.
The little dog laughed to see such a sport,
And the dish ran away with the spoon.
A nice, gentle nonsense rhyme, with the cow jumping and the dog laughing and the dish…wait. The dish is running away with the spoon? Adultery! What is Mr. Fork going to think when he comes home and his wife has run off with the dish? Anarchy, I tell ya!
At least there’s still my favorite, nothing bad in there at all:
Ring around the rosie,
Pocket full of posies,
We all fall down!