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Interview with Mother Goose – Part Two

Updated on August 21, 2011

Mother Goose Rhymes and Revelations

\Would you like to know the real meaning behind some of those sadistic and somewhat strange Mother Goose nursery rhymes? I promised to bring you additional Mother Goose revelations so here is Part Two of Interview with Mother Goose.” If you missed Part One, please click on the link before you read this chapter.

As you may recall, I had the good fortune to interview two former French queens, both named Bertha, (Bertrada and Berthe respectively) who both claimed to be the original and the genuine Mother Goose. They have generously agreed to return for another visit.

Queen Bertrada II of Laon        (8th century)
Queen Bertrada II of Laon (8th century)
Drawing of Queen Berthe of Bugundy (10th century)
Drawing of Queen Berthe of Bugundy (10th century)
This is a Gaggle
This is a Gaggle
This is a Google
This is a Google

Mother Goose Interview - Part Two

me – Good day, your Royal Highnesses, and welcome to the second edition of Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes. It is a distinct pleasure to see you both again. Thank you for responding to my request.

Betrada – It is our pleasure to be sure. It is deathly quiet at our place.

BertheOui, if it were not for our precious computers, life … I mean, death … would be very tedious, indeed. (They both chuckle)

me – I have learned that many of the nursery rhymes that appeared to be so harsh and frightening were based on actual events in English history, but they occurred after your time.

BertradaCertaimement. Most of those well-known rhymes reflected events in the 17th century but we both know their backgrounds.

me – I can’t help but wonder since you lived in the 8th and 10th centuries respectively, how would you know this history?

Berthe – We try to keep abreast with the times and the Gaggle search engine has been a great help in keeping us informed.

me – Gaggle? Gaggle means a flock of geese. Don’t you mean Google . . . oh, wait a minute. I get it.

BertradaMais oui. We renamed Google to be more goose-friendly – we knew you would understand. (Both queens giggle gently)

King Pepin the Short 714 - 768
King Pepin the Short 714 - 768
Pepin wasn't THAT short. Bertrada wasn't THAT tall.
Pepin wasn't THAT short. Bertrada wasn't THAT tall.

Pepin the Short

me(Silently to myself – Everyone wants to be a comedian!) First, I need to clear up a misconception. I will address this to you, Bertrada, since King Pepin the Short was your husband and the father of Charlemagne. A perspicacious reader commented that Pepin, your husband, won that nickname because he cut his hair short. Would you elaborate?

BertradaCertainement. It is true that my dear husband was height-challenged – just a little over 5 feet – so his subjects gave him the nickname of Pepin the Short. He did cut his hair shorter than his royal predecessors but it was his short stature the citizens referred to.

He believed this was an impediment to his royal presence and power, so he found an opportunity to display that what he lacked in height was compensated for by strength, daring and swordsmanship.

me – You have my complete attention. What did he do?

King Pepin the Short and French History

Betrada – The early Romans used gladiators to fight wild beasts in an arena. We were more civilized. We staged fights between wild animals. Much like the dog fights promoted by that U.S. football player – what’s his name?

Only we used genuine wild animals: tigers, lions, bulls, rhinos. Pepin and his court attended one of those events in which a bull and lion were savagely attempting to tear each other apart. My sweet hubby stood up at ringside and loudly cried, “Will anyone dare to separate those ferocious beasts?”

It was not the most brilliant idea he ever had. Of course, there was dead silence. Pepin leaped into the arena, drew his sword and drew the attention of the crowd … as well as the furious lion and the enraged bull. He deftly avoided their charge and killed one and then the other with his sword.

After that amazing exhibition of strength and daring, he shouted to the crowd, “Am I not worthy to be your king?” There was a deafening shout and his name, Pepin the Short, became a tern of honor, not derision. He told me all about this battle afterward. It’s a good thing I wasn’t there. I would have KILLED him!

Humpty Dumpty before the fall
Humpty Dumpty before the fall

Humpty Dumpty – the true story

me – Do you know the true story of the origin of the ‘Humpty Dumpty’ nursery rhyme?

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.

Bertrada Mais oui. “Humpty Dumpty” was an unflattering phrase used in 17th century England to describe someone who was obese. But Humpty Dumpty was also a term used to describe a tremendous, large and heavy cannon! It was used during the English Civil War in the Siege of Colchester in 1648.

Berthe – The Parliamentarians (Roundheads) laid siege to the Royalist town of Colchester which was heavily fortified with a strong city wall. A huge cannon was strategically placed on that wall.

A Parliamentary cannon damaged the wall beneath the Humpty Dumpy cannon and it tumbled to the ground.

Bertrada – The Royalists (Cavaliers) who were 'all the King's men' tried to raise Humpty Dumpty to another part of the wall, but it was so heavy that 'All the King's horses and all the King's men couldn't put Humpty together again!'

The town was captured by the Parliamentarians after an eleven-week siege.

Kermit Reports on Humpty Dumpty

me – That piece of English history is fascinating. Merci for the explanation.

My version; Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

None of the king’s horses and some of the king’s men . . . had scrambled eggs for breakfast.

Berthe – In France, the breakfast would have been an omelette. (She and Bertrada chortle)

Goose Gossip: Humpty Dumpty is unique because the same rhyme is found across Europe under various titles – Boule, Boule in France, Annebadadeli in Switzerland, Lille-Trille in Denmark, and Humpelken-Pumpelken in parts of Germany, to name a few.

Little Jack Horner
Little Jack Horner

The Plum Plunder - Sesame Street

Little Jack Horner – was he real?

me – Are you familiar with the ‘Little Jack Horner’ nursery rhyme?

Little Jack Horner sat in the corner
Eating his Christmas pie,
He put in his thumb and pulled out a plum,
And said "What a good boy am I!"

Bertrada – There was a real person named Thomas Horner who was a steward to Richard Whiting, the Bishop of Glastonbury Abbey during the 16th century. Horner was sent to London with a Christmas pie to ease tensions between the king and the monasteries during a turbulent time.

Berthe – Ah, but this was no ordinary pie. Beneath the crust were title deeds to 12 valuable manor house estates. The Bishop was sending these deeds to appease King Henry VIII and his sinister minister, Thomas Cromwell.

Bertrada – It is alleged (my legal consul’s advice) that Thomas (Jack) Horner pulled quite a plum from that pie for himself – the title deed to the most expensive manor house estate.

Goose Gossip: Horner's descendants lived on the property known as Mells Manor until the 20th century.

Mells Manor, Somerset, England
Mells Manor, Somerset, England

me – It seems that Jack was quite a rogue. Here’s my version of the rhyme:

Little Jack Horner has left his corner.

With deception, he accomplished a feat.

He stuck in his thumb. The guy wasn’t dumb.

Now he’s Lord of the Manor with the elite.

Goose Gossip: It may seem strange to hide such valuable deeds in a pie but this bizarre practice was commonplace to hide valuables from thieves and highwaymen.

The Mells Manor property included a number of lead mines. The Latin term for lead is ‘plumbum’. The plum Jack plucked represents a clever pun.

Rumor has it that the Bishop may have tried to bribe the king with those title deeds in order to avoid the seizure of his Abbey.

Caution: Do not share this information with the children, but the bishop’s plan was thwarted, the Abbey was destroyed, and Bishop Whiting was convicted of treachery to the Crown. He was hung … drawn … and quartered. Ugh!

Mary, Mary quite Contrary
Mary, Mary quite Contrary
Mary the First 1516 - 1558
Mary the First 1516 - 1558

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary – who was Mary?

me – Do you know who ‘contrary Mary’ was in this familiar nursery rhyme?

Mary, Mary, quite contrary. How does your garden grow? With silver bells and cockle shells. And pretty maids all in a row.

Bertrada – I have heard several versions but I believe that the English queen, Mary I, was the actual protagonist of that rhyme.

Berthe(interrupting) She was called Bloody Mary but not to her face.

Bertrada – You are ‘spot on’ – a phrase I have learned from the English. Mary Tudor, the daughter of King Henry VIII, was a devoted Catholic who earned that nasty nickname because of her sadistic treatment of Protestants.

me - How sadistic was she?

Berthe – Bloody Mary ordered them executed by being burned at the stake. But first, she ordered them to be tortured with fiendish instruments – the notorious ‘silver bells’ which were thumbscrews used to crush thumbs.

Bertrada – And the ‘cockleshells” which were ingenious instruments for crushing genitals.

me – And the garden was an allusion to graveyards which were being filled by Protestant martyrs. But what did the ‘pretty maids all in a row’ represent?

Berthe – The mechanical device, the guillotine, used to sever the heads of its victims, was originally called ‘the Maiden’ and shortened to ‘maids’ in the nursery rhyme.

me – Now that’s what I call a sadistic and diabolical nursery rhyme. I prefer my kinder version:

Mary, Mary, quite contrary. How does your garden grow?

With silver bells and cockle shells and dozens of damned dandelions.

Goose Gossip: There were 300 executions during the reign of Bloody Mary. But she didn’t surpass her father. King Henry VIII was believed to have ordered the deaths of thousands of French citizens. Perhaps he was emulating Vlad Tepes - Dracula.

The guillotine, believe it or not, was a very necessary invention. Beheading a victim often caused tremendous stress and strain to the Executioner. It could take up to 11 blows to actually sever the head. Victims did not always submit willingly and sometimes had to be chased around the scaffold while being hacked by the Executioner .

More entertaining to the spectators, no doubt, than today's television reality shows like "Real Housewives of New Jersey."

Little Boy Blue
Little Boy Blue
Cardinal Thomas Wolsey (portrait) 1473 - 1530
Cardinal Thomas Wolsey (portrait) 1473 - 1530

Little Boy Blue – did he exist?

me – Do you know the story behind ‘Little Boy Blue’?

Little Boy Blue, come blow your horn. The sheep’s in the meadow, the cow’s in the corn. Where is the boy who looks after the sheep? He’s under the haystack, fast asleep. Will you wake him? No, not I, for if I do, he's sure to cry.

Bertrada – There was no radio, television nor internet in those days so rhymes and limericks became an excellent way to pass on history from generation to generation.

Berthe – The boy in blue is believed to be the influential 16th century statesman and cardinal, Thomas Wolsey. He dominated the government of England from 1515 to 1529.

Bertrada – But he led a double life. Although he appeared to be the very picture of cardinal chastity, historical gossip asserts that he fathered two illegitimate children and caused so many problems that the king stripped him of his titles and powers.

me – Why was he referred to as “little boy blue?”

Bertrada – Thomas was a precocious child and received his bachelor of arts degree at Oxford when he was only 15 years old. His peers called him the “boy bachelor.”

Although he wore the red robes of a cardinal, his personal coat of arms displayed four leopards with blue faces.

Grenada stamp commemorating Little Boy Blue
Grenada stamp commemorating Little Boy Blue

Berthe – And the reference to sheep may have stemmed from his working as a sheepherder for his father when he was a youngster.

me – Do you have an explanation for “come blow your horn” in the rhyme?

BertradaMais oui. That expression is still often used today to signify someone who brags about himself.

Do you know 'the Donald’? Cardinal Wolsey was one of the most important statesmen in 16th century Tudor history. But he was not a humble man by any means.

me – Thank you for that explanation. I thought the horn was a way to summon sheep – you know like a bullhorn beckons bulls (joke) – but you are absolutely on target. Here is my version of Little Boy Blue:

Little Boy Blue, stop blowing your horn.

You have been blowing it every morn.

Do not rant and do not rave,

We know it’s PR that you crave.

Old Mother Hubbard
Old Mother Hubbard
Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn
Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn

Kermit Interviews Mother Hubbard

Old Mother Hubbard – was she a real person?

me – Do you know the background of this rhyme?

Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard. To get her poor doggie a bone, But when she got there, the cupboard was bare, So the poor little doggie had none.

Bertrada – The infamous Cardinal Wolsey is involved in this nursery rhyme, too. It is said to allude to the explicit cause of his falling out with King Henry VIII.

Berthe – Although he had been a faithful servant to the king, Wolsey was unable to facilitate the king’s divorce from Katherine of Aragon who had been his queen for many years. Henry, le cochon (the pig) wanted to marry his latest passionate love, Anne Boleyn.

me – So Mother Hubbard represented Cardinal Wolsey?

Bertrada – Yes, and the doggie relates to the king. The bone refers to the divorce that Wolsey was unable to obtain and the cupboard represents the Catholic Church.

The Six Wives of Henry VIII
The Six Wives of Henry VIII

me – Here is my version:

Cardinal Wolsey had been Henry’s frère,

As rascals go, they were really a pair.

The church would not endorse

Old King Henry’s divorce.

Now Wolsey's own cupboard holds only air..

Goose Gossip: Ironically, a divorce was subsequently obtained by King Henry VIII which resulted in a break with Rome and the formation of the English Protestant church.

Henry VIII's love affair with Anne Boleyn came to a nasty end. She was one of the two wives he had beheaded.

Ring Around the Rosy
Ring Around the Rosy
Ring-around-the-Rosey statue by Hummell
Ring-around-the-Rosey statue by Hummell
London newspaper reporting on the Plague
London newspaper reporting on the Plague

Ring around the Rosy – every child knows this rhyme

me – do you know the origin of this nursery rhyme?

Ring around the rosy, a pocketful of posies.

Ashes, ashes, we all fall down.

Bertrada – Yes, and it has a horrible history. It relates to the time of the Black Plague of London and Edinburgh, Scotland in 1664. More than 70,000 people died as a result of the terrible Bubonic or Black Plague that was said to have been caused by bacteria transmitted by rat fleas.

me – And what does the rosy ring refer to?

Berthe – The rosy ring is the circular red rash that was one of its symptoms.

Bertrada – And the pocket full of posies relates to the flowers (herbs) that people carried with them because they believed the disease was transmitted by the deathly odors.

Berthe – The lines, "Ashes! Ashes! We all fall down" refers to people dying and being cremated.

Goose Gossip: The death rate of the Great Plague was over 60% of the London population and was halted only by the Great Fire in1666 which killed the rats carrying the disease.

Ish Kabibble AKA Merwyn Bogue 1908 - 1994
Ish Kabibble AKA Merwyn Bogue 1908 - 1994

Ish Kabibble with Kay Kyser's band

Father Goose trailer 1964

me – It’s good that children do not know exactly what these macabre words represent when they chant them. Here is my version:

Ring around the rosie, pocket full of posie.

Ah-choo, ah-choo, go and fetch a tissue.

Which is a segue to one of my favorite rhymes by Ish Kabibble (of the Kay Kyser Band). I’ve added the last two lines:

A Sneeze

I sneezed a sneeze into the air,

It fell to earth I know not where.

But hard and cold were the looks of those,

In the vicinity where I snoze.

With me, those folks all had an issue,

I did not use my Kleenex tissue.

Goose Gossip: The name, ‘Ish Kabibble’, derives from the Yiddish expression ‘Ische ga bibble?’ meaning ‘What, me worry?’ This expression was later appropriated by MAD Magazine as a motto for its Ish Kabibble-like fictitious mascot, Alfred E. Neuman.

me – Thank you, Bertrada, Berthe, for sharing all your Mother Goose knowledge. Let’s hurry now, I'm taking you to a revival of the film, ‘Father Goose', with Cary Grant and Leslie Caron.

Sources: Bett, Henry Nursery Rhymes and Tales - Their Origin and History. London: Methuen & Co. Ltd., 1968 ... Delamar, Gloria T. Mother Goose - From Nursery to Literature. North Carolina; McFarland and Company, Inc., 1987 ... Eckenstein, Lina. Comparative Studies in Nursery Rhymes. London: Duckworth & Co., 1906 ... Opie, Iona, and Peter, eds. The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes. New York: Oxford University Press, 1951.

© Copyright BJ Rakow, Ph.D. 2011. All rights reserved. Author, "Much of What You Know about Job Search Just Ain't So"


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    • ocfireflies profile image


      7 years ago from North Carolina

      This is such an awesome hub! V+/FB share!

      ocfireflies aka Kim

    • snigdhal profile image


      9 years ago from hyderabad - India

      jus fantastically compiled ... i recently hubbed about the ring around the rosy as well ..but in amateur poetry form :) ..voted up !!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      drbj: Ironically, nursery rhymes can seem such historical gossip about the unpleasant actions of unpleasant people: philandering kings, profiteering stewards, proud cardinals, punitive queens, and rebellious subjects. But what purpose does it serve to turn the unpleasant subject of plague into such a light-hearted song and dance routine?

      Thank you for a fascinating, informative, word-turning read!

    • acaetnna profile image


      9 years ago from Guildford

      Nursery rhymes have taken on a whole new meaning for me now. What a great piece of research and a brilliant hub.Voting up and pressing those buttons too.

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      9 years ago from south Florida

      Thanks, Micky, for finding this, taking the time and really enjoying the fun. What I like to hear, my friend.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 

      9 years ago

      Very, very nice. It's good to take time with your hubs and really enjoy fun history.

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      9 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, sheila. Do you suppose that Putin could be Pepin in a modern reincarnation? Her name is Lyudmila. Hmmmmmmm, isn't that the Russian equivalent of Bertrada? It is similar, they both end in 'a'. Thanks for stopping by.

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      9 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, Keith. Although I knew that some of the Mother Goose rhymes were based on English history, I didn't know all the details until I did the research. Fascinating, no?

      Thank you for preferring my versions and my supernatural interviews. Oh, yes, and the corny one-liners. You do have superb taste, m'luv.

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      9 years ago from south Florida

      Thanks for appreciating the Gaggle search engine, Martie. Don't be embarrassed by any lack of knowledge concerning Mother Goose. I learned things I didn't know about these rhymes until I did the research.

      I do like the rhythym of 'Hompie Kedompie" - sounds so much more intriguing in Afrikaans.

      With reference to death by guillotine, the populace appeared to view it - after it had been in use for some time - as a macabre means of entertainment. They would show up, stand around, and eat lunch while observing the spectacle. Ugh!

      Thanks for the idea. Since Henry VIII was so innovative, boiling people like lobsters, perhaps I will dig him up for an interview, too.

      Thanks for your fulsome comments, sweetie - 'genius' is one of my all-time faves, you know. Om pret te hê en goed te bly

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      9 years ago from south Florida

      Hanna - Thank you for giving me the pleasure of reading it and enjoying it. Love your comment!

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      9 years ago from south Florida

      Delighted you enjoyed this Mother Goose sequel, Mike. Thank you for all your gracious comments. 'Entertaining, enjoyable and illuminating' is what I aim to be.

      Wow! 'Required reading?' Love that one.

      It is strange when you think about it that these rhymes have survived the centuries with children everywhere hearing and singing them with no thought of what they might represent.

      I can remember singing 'Ring Around the Rosie' when I was a very small child and I did wonder what 'Ashes, ashes' in the rhyme meant. But the 'falling down' part was so much fun I didn't care. Who knew the dark stories behind the rhymes?

      Thank you for pushing all the buttons as well as the up. I love being a "Hub of Influence." Regards backatcha.

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      9 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, J. Most of us know some or all of these Mother Goose rhymes but like you, I had no clue about most of them until I started the research. Informative, yes. And often shocking information.

      Thanks for visiting and loving to read them.

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      9 years ago from south Florida

      Now that you know some of the stories behind these nursery rhymes, Dolores, the next time there are reruns of the television series, 'The Tudors,' you may enjoy them more knowing some of this historical background. Those were trying times

      Thank you for loving this hub and the up vote and the awesome. So are you, m'dear.

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      9 years ago from south Florida

      I do agree with you, Alastar. If the belly spasms are caused by laughter, that is the very best kind. Trust me.

    • sheila b. profile image

      sheila b. 

      9 years ago

      In the beginning what you wrote about Pepin reminded me of Vladimir Putin. I really find the man hilarious in his adolescent stunts. Maybe someone told him about Pepin.

    • attemptedhumour profile image


      9 years ago from Australia

      I didn't realise that that those stupid nursery rhymes were derived from historical events.

      I much prefer your versions and am convinced that one day there will be a nursery rhyme featuring you and your brushes with the famous and infamous. As usual a funny delve into the past with some great one liners. cheers

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      9 years ago from South Africa

      Drbj – this is so sharp! You must be a genius :) I mean, of course Gaggle will be their search engine. This is the first time I hear the origin of Humpty Dumpty (and yes, I’m blushing for being this uninformed about such a magnificent icon.). In my language the verse is called “Hompie Kedompie” – The preface ‘ke’ before ‘dompie’, is a typical forced rhyme/rhythm for pre-schoolers. I love your versions of the rhymes! More relevant :)

      Reading about the man-ual guillotine, has given me goose flesh! Up to 11 blows, you say? That must have been the ‘soap stories’ of the century – I wonder what did they regard as horrors and violence? You must have noticed by now I love history. Do you know what was the punishment enforced by Henry VIII for people who had murdered others with poison? The guilty was boiled alive in a large pot of water. What about organising some interviews with those who were so brutally executed during the Middle Ages? That would be a gruesome, I mean a gooseome hub :)))

      Let me use Saddlerider’s words: I could not find enough buttons to vote this hub up.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      9 years ago from London, UK

      Only drbj could do such a great job like that. Thank you for the pleasure of reading it.

    • profile image

      Aka Professor M 

      9 years ago

      @drjb: An equally entertaining , illuminating and enjoyable

      sequel to the first, drbj! This ranks right up there with the first so I surmise that it deserves equal billing with Interview-with-Mother-Goose for required reading, my friend!

      The additions from the United Kingdom with those dark historical revelations, sure makes one wonder as to the twisted sense of humor, behind those original rhymes for the children!

      Thanks for sharing in such an entertaining manner and for researching the grim facts behind the seemingly nice old childrens nursery rhymes.

      Voted up and pushed all the buttons, on a well deserved "Hub of Influence" DRBJ!

      Regards Mike! (Aka Professor M!) ;D

    • profile image

      J. Rocco 

      9 years ago

      Fantastic hub. Very informative. I had no clue where or how all these nursery Rhymes originated from. I can hardly wait to read your next hub. Love reading them.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      9 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Well I knew about ring around the rosie but the rest were news to me. I loved this hub (voted up and awesome). I wish I had known some of these stories when I was watching the Tudors a few months ago. The nursery rhymes would have added a light note to the horrible tale of lies, murder, and history.

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      9 years ago from south Florida

      Humpty is one of my favorites, too, Hilary, thanks for enjoying these new-fashioned rhymes. A book, eh? That's something to ponder.

      Thanks for stopping by, m'dear.

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Yes drbj, a hilarious state to be in...if one can control the belly

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      9 years ago from south Florida

      Thank you Alastar, for enuoying my recounting of history, rhymes, wordplay, fiction and explanations. You ARE a fan!

      Your faves BTW are the same as mine. And I didn't know that you and Ish were both from the same state. The state of hilarity, no doubt.

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      9 years ago from south Florida

      So I ticked all your boxes, christopher? That is the ultimate compliment. Thank you. And thanks for ticking my boxes, too.

      I'm delighted that you find my interviews 'a real pleasure to read' but man, you've got to get out more. Heh, heh. Will attempt to keep them coming as requested.

    • Green Lotus profile image


      9 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      These stories are so much better than those "old fashioned" nursery rhymes. I see a very cool book in the making! Your version of Humpty Dumpty is may favorite of all.

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      The way you combine history , superb imaginative fiction, wordplay, the mother goose rhymes and explanations are what its all about for a great and enjoyable Hub. You look marvelous drbj. Faves: Humpty Dumpty, your versions of Jack Horner and Mother Hubbard plus Kay Kyser was from me home state!

    • christopheranton profile image

      Christopher Antony Meade 

      9 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      That one definitely ticks all my boxes, so I have ticked all yours as well.

      Your interviews are a real pleasure to read, and a highlight of my life.

      Keep them coming please.

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      9 years ago from south Florida

      What a coincidence, Kelly, that you are in the title business. I hereby dedicate the revised Jack Horner poem to you. Now that you know the real story, be very careful not to work with titles that smell like plum pie.

      There are some flowers that look like silver bells and cockle shells but they are seldom used as instruments of torture - as far as I know.

      Thank you for the accolades, m'luv and the up stuff. You are much appreciated.

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      9 years ago from south Florida

      Feline, my dear, delighted you found this all 'wonderfully enlightening' and that you enjoyed the Google Gaggle thing as much as I did.

      Sinister is absolutely the right word to describe some of those innocent at first glance rhymes. They were anything but. Thank you for the sweet comments.

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      9 years ago from south Florida

      You remember Rosy from microbioloty class, Lela? How extraordinary. Did you meet Eboli there, too? You are right on the mark about history being turned into rhymes. It made it so easy for the stories, some rather macabre to be sure, not to be forgotten.

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      9 years ago from south Florida

      Thank you, Ruby, for enjoying this bit of fluff. Delighted that I was able to provide some fun info. And since you liked my verse even better than the nursery rhymes, you have now been named Chief Steward of Nursery Nonsense. It is a prestigious post but unfortuantely, unpaid.

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      9 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, Audrey. Delighted you found this 'entertaining and brilliant as always' - takes one to know one. Right? Thanks for loving the cartoons - they do add a bit of panache. And the Google Gaggle bit may be one of my more lofty inspirations.

      Speaking of pelicans, your pelican hub should win that 'Share' contest - it is tres excellent.

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      9 years ago from south Florida

      Dear Frog - I think you're right about the info overload on this chapter of M. Goose. I just couldn't stop once I got started. I found the histories so fascinating they became like peanuts - I couldn't stop after just one. Thank you for your kind words.

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      9 years ago from south Florida

      Nice to see you here, Megan. Thanks for the visit and the 'fabulous' comment. I can't wait either for the next interview since I don't have a clue at this moment who that undead celebrity will be. But never fear. Inspiration is always just around the corner.

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      9 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Wow! Pretty interesting Drbj! I'd only heard of a couple of these before. I always tried to guess what Little Jack Horner meant - funny considering I'm involved in the title business;) Mary, Mary quite contrary was my favorite as a child....I imagined Silver Bells and cockleshells were a type of flower......but the truth is much more fascinating!

      Up and all of that for sure!

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 

      9 years ago

      Gaggle? Hahaha!! Such a wonderfully enlightening hub, drbj! Who would have thought all those nursery rhymes (that we so cheerfully mangled as children) had such sinister origins!

    • Austinstar profile image


      9 years ago from Somewhere near the heart of Texas

      I remember the one about the plague - Ring around the rosy from my microbiology classes. Weird that old stories were turned into rhymes. But I guess that is so people could remember the times.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      9 years ago from Southern Illinois

      drbj, you did it again. This is so unique and full of fun info. I think what amazes me the most is the cruelty of the rulers and the wives were just as bad. Thank you for sharing your poetry rhymes, they were far better than the Nursery Rhymes. Enjoyed!!

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      Entertaining and brilliant as always, BJ - gotta love the cartoons best of all....I love the Gaggle and the Google, too...and Father Goose one of my all time favorites! Those geese look a lot like my pelicans~ ha ha

    • The Frog Prince profile image

      The Frog Prince 

      9 years ago from Arlington, TX

      drbj - I'm on information overload a bit after reading Part 2. Fascinating. I didn't realize the reasons behind the rhymes.

      Excellent Hub and well written.

      The Frog

    • Megan Kathleen profile image

      Megan Kathleen 

      9 years ago from Los Gatos, CA

      How awful that my favorite story here is Mary, Mary, quite contrary? Torture, how fabulous! But what is truly fabulous is this hub, as always. Can't wait for the next interview!

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      9 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, Dex. You love my Interviews? What a coincidence - I love researching and writing them. Aren't we a pair? Thank you for finding them entertaining and the UP vote. You are SO wise!

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      9 years ago from south Florida

      Thank you Sandy - I appreciate your visit and loving my research. I always thought the "Goose" nursery rhymes were a little strange - now I know some of the reasons why.

    • Dexter Yarbrough profile image

      Dexter Yarbrough 

      9 years ago from United States

      Hi DRBJ! This was informative and entertaining, as usual! I love these interviews! Voted up, up and away!

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      9 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      I love your research on Mother Goose rhymes. Very interesting history.

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      9 years ago from south Florida

      Thanks Paradise, for being the first to comment. Yes, when the nursery rhyme commemoratng the Great Plague came to America, the 'ashes, ashes,' became 'Achoo." Made much more sense in many ways.

    • Paradise7 profile image


      9 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thanks for an entertaining hub. I've heard that the "Ashes, Ashes" in the nursery rhyme was actually "Achoo, Achoo", imitating sneezing, which WAS one of the onset symptoms of the plague.


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