Childhood Ruined: Your Favourite Nursery Rhymes, Destroyed

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While browsing a book store over this long weekend, Mint and myself chanced upon some nursery rhyme books that she was thinking of getting for her little nieces and nephews. While browsing through the pages of these books, the songs and melodies just came back to us instantly. However, my ever criticizing brain soon realised something was very very wrong....

Have you ever realised that almost all nursery rhymes had some form of sadist ending to them? It's either about somebody/something falling down, someone getting scared, someone getting injured etc etc. Let's take a look at a couple of them...

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London Bridge
London Bridge is falling down, 
falling down, 
falling down.
London Bridge is falling down,
My fair lady.

Possibly the most well-known nursery rhyme in the world. But unknown to the little ones, it is based on an ominous scenario. Well, if the London Bridge were to really fall down, there would be widespread panic and mayhem across the world. I really don't think anyone would be bragging about it to their fair-skinned girlfriend.

But wait, there's more:

Build it up with Silver and Gold,
Silver and Gold,
Sliver and Gold.
Build it up with Silver and Gold,
My fair lady.

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Is this what we really want to do? Instilling in our kids from such a young age that money [Silver and Gold] can solve almost any problem? And even if it was remotely possible, a huge bridge made purely out of silver and gold would only serve to attract the world's best criminals to try to get their hands on a chunk of this bridge. Which in turn, would lead to instability of the structure and ultimately, history repeating itself as London Bridge is falling down again.

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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.

Another nursery rhyme that was probably written by a sadist. Assuming that this was written in the olden days, the most logical method of getting a "pail of water" would be from a well. And since nursery rhymes were mostly based on children, we shall assume Jack and Jill were children too.

Firstly, any sane adult would know that it would not be safe to get 2 kids to fetch a pail of water from any well [much less one that was at the top of a hill]. How many stories have you heard of children or animals falling into wells and getting stuck in there?

Secondly, the only possible reason why both kids would come tumbling down together is if they were having some sort of scuffle on the hill top. If not, it would only be 1 kid rolling down the hill, and not 2. Or, the second possible scenario would be that Jack and Jill were not young toddlers at all, and were probably doing something else up on the hilltop. Childhood ruined.

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Lastly, why does the injuries have to be so severe? It's a children's nursery rhyme for goodness sake. Couldn't it be "Jack fell down and bruised his knee" or "Jack fell down and bumped his head"? Which, by the way, would already be a traumatising experience for kids that age. "Braking your crown" can literally be translated into "fracturing your skull". Yup. The writer was definitely a sick sadist.

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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.

I have a personal vendetta against this one. There is no phase, word or letter in this nursery rhyme that says anything about Humpty Dumpty being an egg. But why do all the books, shows and even movies have to portray him as a talking egg? I mean, he could have been a dog, a cat, a donkey, a panda or even a drunk human for all we know.

Anyway, here we go again with the falling and hurting of the main character. With all these stereotypes about kids falling down and hurting themselves, it's no wonder children these days are so afraid of falling and failure. I'm glad that during my childhood, I learnt that it's always natural to fall down a couple of times when learning something new. All you have to do is to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try again.

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And what's with the king's horses and men? You mean that only the king [or people in the position of power] can help others in need? Why couldn't the common folk come to Humpty's aid? The only possible reason is that Humpty was a prisoner trying to escape prison by climbing over the high walls. That would be the only explanation why there were no common folk around when he fell, and the first to get to him were the "king's horses and men" [who would, in most communities, be the last to arrive after all the dust has settled], would would probably have been the prison wardens.

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3 Blind Mice
3 Blind Mice. 3 Blind Mice.
See how they run, see how they run.
They all run after the farmer's wife,
who cut off their tails with a carving knife,
have you ever seen such a scene in your life,
as 3 blind mice.

Lots of animal abuse in this one. Mice don't just go blind naturally, and what are the odds of having 3 blinded mice side by side? In my opinion, the farmer or his wife definitely had something to do with this. And to make matters worse, apart from digging their eyes out, she even cut off their tails with a knife. Well, serves you right that these little fellas want to get back at you.

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Hey, wait a minute. Did the rhyme say mice? How could she do such cruel things to cute little mice who would normally cause much less trouble than their ugly, mutated cousins, the rats. [Not that I'm saying animal abuse to rats should be condoned either] Someone please report her to the SPCA.

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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.

Well, this one is quite straight forward. The writer probably had arachnophobia and hoped that the whole world supported him in his irrational fear of spiders. The whole setting of the nursery rhyme was meticulously planned so that Miss Muffet would be placed in the most comfortable [and hence most vulnerable] environment, which that nasty little spider could take full advantage of to scare the shit out of her.

It's not like the poor guy was crawling up her leg or anything like that. He only just sat down beside her! Maybe he was just trying to make a new friend, or even just going about his own business. This is probably one of the main reasons why 99% of female humans on this planet act exactly like Miss Muffet upon seeing a tiny little spider. I'm telling you, the "socially accepted" reaction is infused in their brain by this nursery rhyme. And in all fairness, the spider was probably more scared by Miss Muffet's sudden screaming and and running off like that than she was of it.

Image taken from google search

See. What did I tell you? Sorry I had to ruin your childhood like that. But I feel that the world has to know of the evils that we are actually singing to our kids when they are at their most influential age! Parents of the world, before you sing your next nursery rhyme to your kids tonight, please review it and make sure it really teaches the values and standards that we want our children to grow up with.

Sometimes, even I scare myself with how my brain works...

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