10 Sinister Nursery Rhymes With Meanings You Won’t Believe

“Jack and Jill” and “Humpty Dumpty” bring back great childhood memories. And today children still skip in circles and jump to the floor while singing “Ring Around the Rosey.” All across the world little kids are still learning and singing nursery rhymes from hundreds of years ago. And It might be hard to believe that the history of these famous songs is dark, some covered in blood. Mary’s garden had no flowers in it. Mother Hubbard wasn’t a little old lady who was trying to find a bone for her dog. And the mice weren’t three blind trouble-makers trying to stir things up on a farm.

Read the gruesome history and historical relevance of these nursery rhymes below.

Jack and Jill Ran Up the Hill

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.

Up got Jack, and home did trot

As fast as he could caper

He went to bed and bound his head

With vinegar and brown paper.

Sounds like Jack had an accident and Jill came to help. But the characters Jack and Jill are actually said to be King Louis XVI and his wife, Marie Antoinette. They were both sent to the guillotine in 1793, which is referenced in the nursery rhyme. Jack “lost his crown” (was beheaded), and Jill’s execution followed, as she “came tumbling after.” It is believed that a “happier” ending was put on the nursery rhyme to make it acceptable for children.

Georgie Porgie

Georgie Porgie pudding and pie,

Kissed the girls and made them cry

When the boys came out to play,

Georgie Porgie ran away.

This nursery rhyme sounds like it’s about a pudgy, cherub-faced little boy who ran around the playground trying to plant one on the girls. But “Georgie Porgie” isn’t about a little boy at all. In fact, it’s believed that the song is about the bisexual 1st Duke of Buckingham, George Villiers, who had sexual relationships with both King James I and an Anne of Austria (who was married and Queen of France at the time). Some claim “Georgie Porgie pudding pie” was quite obese, hence the “kissed the girls and made them cry” part.

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