In which Nirvana wonders / Story Treasury

Why are all Nursery Rhymes so Creepy?

Β Three Blind Mice

Completely off topic, and not at all relevant, but it is an issue which should go viral across earth, tempestuously knocking people out with it’s ‘importantness’ alighting questions never said in people’s minds. A matter of global importance, this is the issue I will be addressing with all you blogglings today πŸ˜€

And that is: Why are all nursery rhymes so creepy?

We have all asked this question in our minds, and it’s a total mystery to me. All nursery rhymes signal death, destruction and all the other morose things that come into your head while reading this.

1234567890 - Copy (2)Like this perfectly innocent poem for example: It’s not at all innocent!Β ???????????????????????????????

Β Rock-a-bye baby, on the treetop,

When the wind blows, the cradle will rock,

When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall

And down will come baby, cradle and all.

Why would someone want to sing a lullaby to their kids about a baby falling off a tree? Babies get injuredΒ in this song, which is the last thing you want to put your kids to sleep with.Β Sure, the tune is soothing, but couldn’t the lyrics be soothing as well? Think on it, and tell me πŸ™‚

1234567890 - Copy (3)And now, more proof as yet another nursery rhyme takes the cake:Β Ring_Around_The_Rosie_by_IAmImmortalRain

1) Ring-a-round the rosie,
A pocket full of posies,
Ashes! Ashes!

We all fall down.

2) Ring-a-ring o’ roses,
A pocket full of posies,
A-tishoo! A-tishoo!

We all fall down.


Both are two different versions of the same rhyme, but their meaning is pretty much the same. I hear you gasp. I nod seriously. Speculators think that it’s about the bubonic plague – the black death.

The first two lines (Ring-a-round the rosie,Β a pocket full of posies,) are about people trying to keep away from the plague. They carried flowers around in their pockets believing it would keep the plague away. The second line (A-tishoo! A-tishoo!): They catch the plague. And then (We all fall down.): The plague gets to him and the person dies.

Wikipedia also offers this explanation…

The invariable sneezing and falling down in modern English versions have given would-be origin finders the opportunity to say that the rhyme dates back to the Great Plague. A rosy rash, they allege, was a symptom of the plague, and posies of herbs were carried as protection and to ward off the smell of the disease. Sneezing or coughing was a final fatal symptom, and “all fall down” was exactly what happened.
The line Ashes, Ashes in colonial versions of the rhyme is claimed to refer variously to cremation of the bodies and the burning of victims’ houses.

See? All this proof. Β Now onto the next poem…’London Bridge is Falling Down’Β london-bridge

1234567890 - Copy (4)London Bridge is falling down,
Falling down, falling down.
London Bridge is falling down,
My fair lady.

A poem about destruction of an architectural structure is NOT okay, kids and adults! Why would you want to sing that aloud. ‘But it’s only a kids game and rhyme!’ I hear you cry. To which I will reply ‘Can’t this kid’s game and rhyme not be about death and buildings and bridges falling?’

Though the longer and lesser known version is a little more calming ;D Ya’ll can find it hereΒ if any of you are planning to get a Ph.d in nursery rhymes!

Next up…Three Blind Mice! One of the creepiest I know.farmerslightcontrastweb-580x730

1234567890 - Copy (5)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 sight in your life,

As three blind mice?

1234567890 - Copy (6)Now there’s a disturbing poem – for KIDS? That’s just sad…Β 700-864718 Β© Martin Ruegner Close-Up of Ladybug

Ladybird, ladybird,

fly away home,

Your house is on fire,

Your children shall burn!

Another version, but about a mother’s kids burning nonetheless:

Ladybird, ladybird fly away home,

Your house is on fire and your children are gone,

All except one, and her name is Ann,

And she hid under the baking pan.

And the last and final grim verse to quench your dark rhymely urges.Β download (1)

1234567890 - CopyRattle his bones,

Over the stones,

It’s only a pauper,

Who nobody owns

I know countless others, but maybe that’s a post for another time. How many of you agree with me? Let me know your thoughts πŸ˜€ And now I shall leave to get myself a soundly earned chocolate after this exhausting endeavor.






30 thoughts on “Why are all Nursery Rhymes so Creepy?

  1. I have also often wondered about why nursery rhymes are so scary.I mean, who on earth made those up!! They’re creepy and disturbing, and small children would have night mares about falling of trees and bridges rather then a peaceful sleep 0.o I agree that the Three blind mice one is the creepiest.To think that a lady would cut the tails off blind mice.Poor things! shudders =D

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Um, a very interesting post and you’re right for the most part but the photo you have is not of London Bridge. It’s of Tower Bridge, London Bridge was sold off to an American buyer years ago. Apparently they too mixed the two up when they made the offer.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this! Totally true! And like the ring around the rosie one, most nursery rhymes actually do have a historical subtext to them. Like London Bridge has been linked to the Great Fire of London in 1666.
    A nursery rhyme that has baffled me since childhood is the one for the old lady and the shoe:
    “There was an old woman who lived in a shoe
    She had so many children, she didn’t know what to do;
    She gave them some broth, without any bread;
    Then whipped them all soundly;
    And put them to bed.”

    Sounds like one harassed woman to me πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep, sounds like one one harassed woman to me, put into jail by Social Services. :3 It had also baffled me since I was little – I finally decided to do a little bit of research NOW! Did you know that the original version first published also had something like this in the second verse…
      When she came back
      They were a’lying dead
      She went to the wright
      To get them a coffin
      When she came back
      They were a’lying laughing
      She gaed up the stair
      To ring the bell
      The bell-rope broke
      And down she fell

      Talk about morbid,they must have removed it to stop giving children nightmares πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

      • OMG! That sounds so morbid and depressing! Have you watched that Nicole Kidman movie called The Others? It makes me think of that.
        And would you know before I commented I was thinking, “Hooboy! I hope she didn’t kill her kids!” πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€


  4. I actually knew about #2 and the bubonic plague. I don’t think I could ever sing that song again D: And that picture with the mice is so creepy. That’s pretty cruel to cut their tails off 😦 Either kill them or don’t. Traditional mouse traps are horrible too. No animal deserves to be tortured like that, even a mouse. . . I think part of the reason that nursery rhymes are so creepy is that they are pretty old. It was probably adults trying to put the situation in a context that children could understand or something like that. The world used to be a dark place, even more so than today. . .

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t think I could sing ANY nursery rhymes again. And yes, that farmer’s wife sounds terrible. The poor mice have already no sight and now you’re going to take their tails as well? shakes her heads and shudders
      I think the poems came into being thanks to street rats and other people as criticism for rulers etc.. Ladybird, ladybird fly away home, for example, was a poem about a Catholic in the 16th century. Ladybird was an old term for Catholics ‘Our Lady’ When Catholics refused to attend Protestant services, they wree burnt at the stake. That was how that poem came into being.
      And like parody songs are made today about some unpopular government figure, that might have been why they wrote poems like those. But how these sinister poems came to be fore KIDS, is quite another matter. I have absolutely no idea πŸ˜€


    • Same here! I feel like I’ve been let on in a secret which very few know of and have a wonderful time spoon-feeding all this info into my sister ☺ Very delightfully disturbing indeed!


  5. That three blind mice picture is really creepy. I knew that some nursery rhymes were really creepy and serious behind the soothing tunes, but I only ever thought about the first two in this post. I never really considered the others and I never heard the last two rhymes. Maybe people paired such disturbing words with soothing tones to help themselves feel better. Because children are usually too young to even think about what they are singing. Have you ever read the original Grimm Brothers fairytales? Those are creepy too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s so wonderfully dark but appropriate at the same time! πŸ˜€ Have you heard the last verse of London Bridge is falling down? It’s where they give the watchman a pipe to smoke so he doesn’t fall asleep and the bridge made of gold isn’t stolen. But while researching, I found out that in medieval times people were built into the walls (ALIVE! shudders) to protect it. Superstitions, I suppose.
      Yes, I’ve read the original Grimm tales. (pun intended πŸ˜‰ ) Particularly the original CInderella. I was soo surprised and grossed out while I read it. The stepsisters cut off their to and heel to fit in the glass you. And in the end of the story pigeons peck out the stepsisters eyes,
      Guess the Grimm brothers weren’t very delicate. I actually got curious to find this out when I finished the Sister’s Grimm series!


  6. Round and round the merry go round
    Round and round in circles
    Round and round the merry go round
    Pop goes the weasel

    Okay, first this has a cute but creepy tune, but part of it’s okay
    Round and round the merry go round, get so giddy you get knocked out and the dark woman can kill you in her dark cottage in the woods!!!
    Pop goes the weasel (to show she’s cooking bigger and bigger things) (ant, mouse, weasel, pig, YOU)



    A was the Archer who shot at a frog *poor frog amirite =(*
    B was Bo Peep with her crook and her dog *that rhyme was too much for me*
    C was the cow that jumped over the moon (in the dead of night)
    D was the dish that ran away with the spoon (they ran from the ghost of the cow that died from hitting the ground so hard when he landed from the moon)
    E was Elizabeth, Betty and Bess (shudders) (have you read it – creeeeepy)
    F was the forest where stood the birds nest (dead birds more like)
    G – Gaffer Longlegs, downstairs he had a fall (poor Gaffer Longlegs)
    H – Humpty Dumpty that sat on the wall (he wasn’t actually claimed to be an egg


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