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Nursery Rhymes : What Would They Be Like Today?

Updated on March 16, 2015

Another slight variation on Rain Rain Go Away


One Two Buckle My Shoe and Rain, Rain Go Away

Probably the most fun I've had writing was my earlier piece on re-writing nursery rhymes. No writing about nursery rhymes would be complete without giving a bit about the history of the rhyme.

For example, "One Two Buckle My Shoe." According to, Adrian Lloyd provided the information that 'One, two buckle my shoe'. was understood to be partly about lacemaking and partly about other ‘working’ class roles from the 16th, 17th or 18th century. Bringing it up-to-date, if it had been written for today or we re-wrote it for today it might go something like this:

One two velcro my shoe
Three, four close the door
Five, six play Stevie Nix,
Seven, Eight, giver her the gate
Nine, ten, tell me when
Eleven, Twelve to dig and delve.

Rain, rain go away was said to be written about the stormy weather when the English ships were fighting the Spanish Armada between 1533-1603. It is believed the stormy weather scattered the Spanish ships. No one likes rain so re-writing this nursery rhyme could be done in any time period and reflecting anyone not wanting it to rain.

Rain, rain go away
We've had enough for today
Find somewhere else to stay
Rain, rain, just go away.


Simple Simon and Hey Diddle Diddle

Simple Simon harkens back to days when people sold their 'wares' at fairs and dates back to Medieval England. We no longer show our 'wares' so we might change this rhyme completely to bring it into our world.

Simple Simon saw an adman on the street somewhere
Said Simple Simon to the adman what is that you wear?
Said the adman to Simple Simon a suit you cannot afford
Said Simple Simon to the adman that's just because you hoard!

It would seem that Hey Diddle Diddle was just a nonsense rhyme.

Hey Diddle Diddle the Senate played fiddle
The Legislature jumped over the moon
The people all laughed to see such a site
And the President sent in a goon.

The child needs a nurse.
The child needs a nurse. | Source

A Hunting We Will Go and The Farmer in the Dell

A-Hunting We Will Go was written for an opera...that's an interesting twist, back in 1777. Since hunting is a controversial subject today it might be changed to:

A hunting we will go,
A hunting we will go,
Hi ho the derry-o a hunting we will go.

A hunting we will go,
A hunting we will go,
They'll lock us up
For hunting, yup,
A hunting we will go.

"The Farmer in the Dell" is a singing game, nursery rhyme and children's song. It probably originated in Germany, and was brought to North America by immigrants.(Opie and P. Opie, The Singing Game (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985), pp. 183-9.) There are different variations of this rhyme around the world, different countries have their own versions. Notice the similarity between this and A Hunting We Will Go? I can't back up my suspicions but they do sound alike - same tune not to mention the hi-ho the derry-o!. Perhaps the same farmers wrote both rhymes. Here is my version:

The farmer in the dell,
The farmer in the dell,
Hi, ho the derry-o the famer in the dell.

The farmer takes a wife
The farmer takes a wife
Hi, ho the derry-o the farmer takes a wife.

The wife has a child,
The wife has a child,
Hi, ho the derry-o the the farmer's really riled.

The child needs a nurse,
The child needs a nurse
Hi, ho the derry-o the farmer's got the curse.

The wife takes the child,
The wife takes the child,
Hi ho the derry-o the faermr's really riled.

They both leave the farmer,
They both leave the farmer,
Hi ho the derry-o he wasn't such a charmer.

This irreverent re-writing can go on and on, there are tons more nursery rhymes, not to mention children's stories. Just think of Hans Christian Anderson and the Brothers Grimm. Things have certainly changed since the days they were written. So much to think about I may be back with more.

Copyright Tillsontitan - All Right Reserved


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    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 6 years ago from New York

      Thanks Au fait, I try ;)

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 6 years ago from North Texas

      Very good. Especially liked The Farmer In the Dell! You always write such interesting hubs!!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 6 years ago from New York

      You are most welcome. Thank you for reading!

    • PADDYBOY60 profile image

      PADDYBOY60 6 years ago from Centreville Michigan

      I love the humor. Thank ya.

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

      Justin W Price 6 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      i can tell and you're welcome. my pleasure :-)

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 6 years ago from New York

      Thanks PDK...this is one of the fun ones. P.S. Thanks for sharing!

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

      Justin W Price 6 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      very informative and entertaining, Till. Enjoyed this very much. Up and shared!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 6 years ago from New York

      stessily, thanks for reading both of my hubs. Nice to know I'm in such good company! I still haven't seen Wicked but hope to one day.

      Debby, you are more than welcome. We often forget where things come from.

    • Debby Bruck profile image

      Debby Bruck 6 years ago

      Hi Mary ~ The history and hidden messages behind each rhyme makes them so much more meaningful to read. Thanks so much, Debby

    • profile image

      stessily 6 years ago

      tillsontitan, It sounds as though you had a lot of fun re-writing those rhymes! That's time well spent: rekindling the creativity of childhood.

      Apparently Gregory Maguire has rewritten "The Little Match Girl," after having tackled Oz through "Wicked", so the fascination of childhood stories and rhymes never fades and can always be inspirational.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 6 years ago from New York

      Thanks Trish. It was fun, hope you enjoy your book!

    • Trish_M profile image

      Tricia Mason 6 years ago from The English Midlands

      Brilliant! :)

      I wish I had thought of doing a hub like this. I love to learn the history and origins of nursery rhymes and fairy stories. In fact, I just bought a book on the stories behind old nursery rhymes. I'll have to have a read! :)

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 6 years ago from New York

      Diogenes, the tone's okay if you're over 18!

    • profile image

      diogenes 6 years ago

      Ha Hilarious. I have written some kids poetry and it's great fun.

      "Tick, tick tock/Three mice ran up my cock/I was just going to shag the parlour-maid/She's scared of mice, the silly jade/I lost the money I'd already paid/Tick, tick tock."

      Not quite the right tone I guess...Bob

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 6 years ago from New York

      WD, you've just got to be in the mood ;) I had to write and re-write a few times but it finally sounded okay to publish. Thanks both of you for reading.

    • profile image

      Ghaelach 6 years ago

      Hi Tillsontitan.

      This is great.

      Like the way you've changed it all around. Must say you worked hard on this one.


      LOL Ghaelach

    • WD Curry 111 profile image

      WD Curry 111 6 years ago from Space Coast

      I loved this piece. I was going to re-write a nursery rhyme to get with the spirit of the piece. It is either too early in the day, or not as easy as you made it look.


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