# Nursery Rhymes with Dark Origins
Nursery rhymes are an integral part of childhood, passed down from generation to generation. They are often thought of as innocent and playful, but many of these rhymes have dark origins that are lost on children today.
Many of them have dark origins because they were created during a time when life was much harsher and more difficult than it is today. These rhymes were often used as a way to make light of difficult and traumatic events, such as war, disease, and execution. Additionally, many nursery rhymes were created as political or social commentary, and were used to satirize or criticize those in power.
# List of Nursery Rhymes with Dark Beginnings
|Ring-a-Ring o' Roses
|the bubonic plague
|Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary
|Bloody Mary executing Protestants
|Jack and Jill
|Execution of King Charles I & his wife
|The siege of Colchester
# Ring-a-Ring o' Roses
Also known as "Ring Around the Rosie" - is often thought to be about a group of children playing a game. However, the rhyme is actually about the Great Plague of London in 1665. The "ring around the rosie" refers to the red ring-like rash that was a symptom of the plague, and "ashes, ashes" refers to the practice of burning the possessions of those who had died from the disease. The final line, "we all fall down", refers to the death toll of the plague.
# Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary
The rhyme is often thought to be about a girl with a fondness for gardening, but it is actually about Mary I of England, also known as "Bloody Mary." She was known for her persecution of Protestants, and the line "how does your garden grow?" refers to the bodies of those she had executed being buried in mass graves.
# Jack and Jill
This is often thought to be about two children going up a hill to fetch a pail of water. Jack suffers a particularly brutal injury from the trip. Another theory is it's actually about King Charles I and his wife, Queen Henrietta Maria. The "hill" refers to the executioner's scaffold and "Jack" and "Jill" are thought to be references to the King and Queen.
# Humpty Dumpty
This is thought to be about an egg that falls off a wall, but it is actually about a cannon used during the English Civil War. The rhyme refers to the siege of Colchester in 1648, where the Royalist forces used a large cannon named "Humpty Dumpty", but it was eventually destroyed by the Parliamentary forces.
# Why do so many nursery rhymes have brutal origins?
Many have dark or even brutal origins as they originated in a time when society and culture were vastly different from what they are today. This time period was often characterized by war, poverty, disease, and other harsh realities of life. These struggles and tragedies were often reflected in the stories and songs that were passed down through generations, which included nursery rhymes.
Additionally, many nursery rhymes have political or social commentary, they were often created as a form of satire or criticism of those in power. They were used as a way to express dissatisfaction with the government or society, in a subtle and often cryptic manner.
It's also important to note that many nursery rhymes have multiple interpretations and that the origins of some rhymes have been lost over time. As the meaning of some rhymes is lost, the modern interpretation can be different from the original one.
In any case, it's important to remember that nursery rhymes are a reflection of the society and culture in which they were created, and the dark origins should be seen in the context of the historical period in which they were written.