Monday, February 02, 2015

Of English Nursery Rhymes and Fairy Tales

I grew up with a load of nursery rhymes together with my siblings. I remembered bawling whenever mum tried to put me to sleep with Rock-a-bye Baby. Always imagined myself in that cradle that falls. Mum never knew why I cried as I couldn't express myself very well then lol

Anyway, I was going through a list of these nursery rhymes with my colleagues and they looked at me, bewildered of the extent of cruel rhymes I know. Grabbing these off the internet, here are some of my favourites:

1. Sing a song of sixpence
Sing a song of sixpence a pocket full of rye,
Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie.
When the pie was opened the birds began to sing,
Oh wasn't that a dainty dish to set before the king?

The king was in his counting house counting out his money,
The queen was in the parlour eating bread and honey
The maid was in the garden hanging out the clothes,
When down came a blackbird and pecked off her nose!


The poor maid!

2. 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. 


Apparently this is in reference to King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette? I always wondered what crown Jack broke. Someone explained to me as a child that "broke his crown" meant Jack had a headache. Never quite made sense though.

3. Three Blind Mice
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


Kesian these mice. They were just minding their own business! And they were already disabled, now even more so!

4. Oranges and Lemons
Oranges and lemons,
Say the bells of St. Clement's.
You owe me five farthings,
Say the bells of St. Martin's.
When will you pay me?
Say the bells of Old Bailey.
When I grow rich,
Say the bells of Shoreditch.
When will that be?
Say the bells of Stepney.
I do not know,
Says the great bell of Bow.
Here comes a candle to light you to bed,
And here comes a chopper to chop off your head!


The delightful cassette we owned with this nursery rhyme even had sound effects of an axe chopping and a hollow plonk once the head dropped off.

5. Old Woman Who Lived in a 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.


Poor kids. Why she so hiao have so many kids until don't know what to do?

Anyway, there is a long list of nursery rhymes which I don't want to list otherwise this post will be too long.

Apart from rhymes, I was also exposed to some lovely fairy tales such as:
1. The Little Mermaid
Nope, not the Disney version. The one where she ends up casting herself into the sea and turning into foam. My cassette had Fingal's Cave accompany the narration of the story. Yes, I still remember this vividly and the book had a picture of her melting into the waves.

2. Tom Thumb
Who tricked a wolf and got his parents to kill the wolf so that he could be rescued. My book had illustrations of the dead wolf lying on the kitchen floor, forever seared in my memory. Never liked Tom for this.

3. Goldilocks
A spoilt girl who destroys the bears home and escapes without consequences. Humph. In line with the other stories, there should have been a gory ending for this one.

4. Hansel and Gretel
I couldn't feel complete joy when I read Enid Blyton's Faraway Tree/Wishing Chair when the kids encountered the land where everything was made of food, especially the house as it reminded me of Hansel and Gretel. Also, whenever my parents took us for walks, it crossed my mind to fill my pockets with something more permanent than breadcrumbs. 

My colleagues concluded that this is the reason why they consider me rather violent hahaha. I wonder what kids are exposed to these days...

3 comments:

Grace Ng said...

actually if you read the original cinderella story, the ugly sisters chopped off their toes to fit into the glass slippers. They figured that they were going to be princesses and didn't envision ever having to work hence, sitting around after their toes chopped off was ok.

jo said...

i don't remember that! but that part was shown in the recent movie "into the woods". but i'm not surprised :)

Mint Nga said...

Cung tim hieu máy hút mùi cổ điển co tot khong nhi?

Theo ban thinên mua máy hút mùi loại nào tot?