The horror— Children’s Rhymes


From Pixabay

Ring around the Rosies
a pocket full of posies
ashes, ashes
we all fall down

This was our version of a children’s nursery rhyme that I played when I was in elementary school–in the 60s. The origin of this play rhyme dates back to at least 1665 or maybe even farther. Some scholars think it was a child’s rhyme about the Black Plague… and others have debunked it. But in this world of offended and re-offended people, if we look too closely we could turn this into a racist rant.

Here is what a Nicki from the Liberty Zone has to say about the colorful history that is making the rounds–starting with Eenie, Meenie, Minee, Moe– a child’s counting rhyme. So what is making the offended even more offended? It’s a “Walking Dead” T-shirt. Personally I don’t watch that show. I am terribly prejudiced against “zombies.” Especially the kind that like to catch and eat “brains.” So don’t start screeching because I am a zombie-hater.

What I am saying is that so many of these rhymes come from our distant past. Many of them have been re-purposed (a word or two changed) to make them more acceptable. I don’t have a problem with that– my ears are not as tender as some.

I do have a problem with eradicating our distant past. For instance, when mathematics were first introduced, it was for accounting. A person who could count above their fingers had a better chance of accurately knowing how much property they had. It was magical. You could say that the families who taught their children counting games had a leg up from other families.

I wonder sometimes how many of our children will be able to use their numbers if we do go into a dystopia world. How many of them could do the simple mathematics?

It does bother me when we throw the “baby out with the bathwater.”

I would rather see children playing circle games outside than be inside on the floor watching TV or playing video games.

Plus we do forget what it was like to be a child. Many of the rhymes I learned came from other children instead of the parents. We forget that children have a complete subculture that is hidden from adults.

So yea, let the children play with nursery rhymes and circle games. Let them describe their world from their eyes.

2 thoughts on “The horror— Children’s Rhymes

  1. I have heard the ring around the rosie notion before. Some of those rhymes, or especially the unadulterated fairy tales, the versions not cleaned up in Little Golden Books, tend to be pretty dark.

    • So true– I have read a few of the Grimm’s Fairy tales. If looked at as “adult” teaching stories, the meanings change– It’s interesting that we look at our oral history as fairy tales, but when we look at the oral history of others like the Native Americans we give them a little more respect. 🙂

Comments are closed.