By Blake Powers

How many times have we heard these classic nursery rhymes and not even bothered to really listen to the lyrics?

Bridges fall, eggs crack, and babies are rocking around in trees for no good reason at all!

These rhymes are classic, but what are we really saying when we sing these songs to kids, or when our parents sang them to us?

Humpty Dumpty

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall/Humpty Dumpty had a great fall/All the king’s horses and all the king’s men/Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

Why do we automatically think Humpty Dumpty is an egg?  Nowhere does it say he is an egg, and legend says it’s actually about a type of cannon used in the English Civil War, and others believe it refers to a sort of town drunk.  Either way, the cannon or the fella’s spine shatters upon his fall.  Ouch.

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.

People think this is actually about the beheading of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette during the French Revolution.  A small town in England actually claims the rhyme is about couple in 1697 who used to sneak up the hill for some “alone time,” and after the woman became pregnant, the man died from a falling rock, and she later died in childbirth.


Rock-a-bye baby, on the treetops/When the wind blows, the cradle will rock/When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall/And down will come baby, cradle and all.

Apparently, Native Americans used to rock babies from cradles high in the branches which would allow the wind to gently sway them to sleep.  If the wind becomes too strong, down goes baby.  Another interpretation believes it’s a giant metaphor for childbirth. The tree is the mother, the wind her contractions, the bough as her water breaking, and the “cradle and all” is the placenta.

London Bridge is Falling Down

Ring around the rosie/A pocketful of posies/Ashes, ashes/We all fall down!

Pretty self explanatory we think.  Bridges aren’t really meant to fall of their own accord.

Ring Around the Rosie

Ring around the rosie/A pocketful of posies/Ashes, ashes/We all fall down!

Probably the most well-known creepy interpretation of a rhyme, this is actually about the massive Plague that swept through England.  The rosy ring supposedly refered to the plague’s rash,  posies were herbs people carried around to mask the disease’s smell, and the ashes were a nod to the cremation of the plague’s victims.  Although, of course, it could really be about running around in a circle.

Little Miss Muffet

Little Miss Muffet/Sat on a tuffet,/Eating her curds and whey/Along came a spider/Who sat down beside her/And frightened Miss Muffet away.

She was just trying to enjoy a nice snack of curds and whey, when a giant spider comes and ruins her afternoon picnic.  Of all the rhymes, this might be the most real.  Spiders ruin everything.

Via Smosh


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