7 Original Stories of Nursery Rhymes

7 Original Stories of Nursery Rhymes

7 Original Stories of Nursery Rhymes

We grew up listening to these nursery rhymes. Are they as innocent as they seem? Surely…..not

In the middle ages i.e.. 5th to the 15th centuries, most of the population was illiterate. Spreading news across the region took months! No one wants stale or cooked news right?

The best way to spread news quickly and make sure that everyone understood it, was to rhyme the news. Rhyming words used along with repetition and onomatopoeia helped people remember these jingles.

Over time some of these nursery rhymes were sung for and by innocent young children. Most parents do not know the really gruesome and unbelievable stories behind these rhymes.

Here is a list of 7 Original Stories of Nursery Rhymes

Rain Rain Go Away

In the 1580s, King Philip II of Spain decided to invade England. He sent his ships across to capture the country once and for all. The Spanish and English naval forces clashed at Gravelines, on the coast of France. The Spanish Navy was famously dubbed the “Invincible Armada’ and outnumbered the English ships.

7 Original Stories of Nursery Rhymes
The Spanish Armada was thought to be invincible

As luck would it, the sea wind changed course after 8 hours of ferocious battle. The Spanish Armada had to retreat. They endured such a horrible plight that hardly any ships reached back home to Spain.

This victorious incident for the English spread like wildfire in the form of rhymes. Their victory is still sung today, every time it rains-

Rain Rain Go Away

Come Again Another Day

Little Johnny Wants to Play.

Rain Rain Go To Spain

Never Show Your Face Again!

Jack and Jill

This seemingly cute little nursery rhyme is more sinister than you ever thought. Naive children might laugh at Jack breaking his crown but there’s nothing funny about it.

The Jack and Jill poem finds its roots in France around the 1790s. The reign of terror (before the French Revolution) or so it was called, would finally be put to an end in 1793 owing to the Revolution. King Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette were captured.

In 1793, Jack and Jill were finally sent up the hill to fetch a pail of water. ‘Jack’ or King Louis XVI, was guillotined and thus he famously ‘lost his crown.’ His wife, Jill (Marie Antoinette) soon followed later loosing her crown as well!


7 Original Stories of Nursery Rhymes
The Execution of King Louis XVI. Jack indeed lost his crown

No laughing matter, is it?

Jack and Jill Went Up the Hill

To Fetch a Pail of Water

Jack fell down and broke his crown

Jill Came Tumbling After

Humpty Dumpty

The origin of the Humpty Dumpty rhyme is not quiet known. There are a number of theories as to what this poem is about.

The most agreeable story is about a heavy canon in the city of Colchester in England.

7 Original Stories of Nursery Rhymes

During the Second English Civil War in the 17th century, Colchester was under siege. The St. Mary’s By the Wall church had a heavy canon called Humpty Dumpty. A man named ‘One-Eyed Jack Thompson’ fired at the Church and destroyed its ‘great wall.’ The canon came crashing down with the top half of the church structure. This heavy canon seems to have been broken so badly that it couldn’t be fixed up again.

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.


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Ring A Ring O’ Roses

Do you remember holding on to each others hands, singing ‘ring a ring o’roses….we all fall down’ and then sitting down on the ground?
And what if I told you, your fun games are actually mocking a sinister time in history?
Ring A Ring O’Roses poem describes the Black Death. The Black Death or Black Plague was one of the biggest epidemic spreads in history.
In the 14th century, 12 trading ships docked on the Italian Sicilian Coast. They had travelled through the Black sea. Onboard these ships, almost all sailors were……. dead. The remaining were on their way to the other world. They had black spots on them, oozing blood and pus. Despite efforts, the ‘Black Plague’ hit Europe hard.
Within the next 5 years, millions of people died. Europe’s population was reduced by 1/3rd.
7 Original Stories of Nursery Rhymes
The spread of Black Death throughout Europe
The ‘Ring A Ring O’Roses’ describe the red circles around the eyes caused by the plague. The ‘pocket full of posies’ refer to herbs that people believed could cure the disease. And the falling down, you can only imagine, the rich and the poor all falling down, never to stand up again…..
Ring a-ring o’ roses,
A pocketful of posies.
A-tishoo! A-tishoo!
We all fall down!

 Twinkle Twinkle Little Stars, Bah-bah Black Sheep and Alphabet Song

These three nursery rhymes have no bloody origins.
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star is a poem written by two sisters, Jane and Ann Taylor in the 19th century titled ‘The Star.’
Bah Bah Black Sheep is based on the sale of wool in England.
Alphabet Song is purely educational.
Yet all these three share a common tune, don’t they?
In 1782, Mr. Bouin from Paris produced Les Amusements d’une Heure et Demy, a divertissements champêtre or a set of 6 musical pieces. The Les Amusements d’une Heure et Demy consists of a divertissements champêtre titled ‘Ah! Vous Dirai-Je, Maman.’
A few years later the famous composer Wolfgang Mozart played the ‘Ah! Vous Dirai-Je, Maman’ musical piece. You can find this tune on Youtube, do listen to it. ‘Ah! Vous Dirai-Je, Maman’ sounds just like the tune to twinkle twinkle little star but it was produced almost a century before the poem!
7 Original Stories of Nursery Rhymes
Wolfgang Mozart, aged in his twenties, played the
“Ah! Vous dirai-je, maman’
What did you think about 7 Original Stories of Nursery Rhymes?
Which is your favourite nursery rhyme? Comment below to share it with me. Maybe we’ll find a hidden story behind it too.
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Post Author: GiGlee Magazine

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