10 Sinister Nursery Rhymes With Meanings You Won’t Believe

Little Jack Horner

Little Jack Horner sat in the corner

Eating his Christmas pie,

He put in his thumb and pulled out a plum

And said “What a good boy am I!”

This nursery rhyme brings to mind a cute little cherry-cheeked boy who got a pie as a reward for being good. But the little boy was a grown man named Thomas Horner who was with King Henry VIII when a pie was delivered to him from the Abbot of Glastonbury. Inside the pie were 12 deeds (one for an estate called Mells Manor) for twelve different homes. The Abbot sent them in an attempt to bribe the king to not burn down his abbey. Supposedly Thomas Horner ended up with the deed for Mells Manor and it is known that his family lived there for many years.

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 thing in your life,

As three blind mice?

Not the sweetest sounding nursery rhyme, but the image that comes to mind is three tough little mice with bandannas around their necks. They’re up to no good on the farm and the lady of the house finally has enough! Harmless enough, right? Wrong.

When you learn that the lady of the house we’re talking about is Queen Mary (“Bloody Mary”), the subject of “Mary Mary Quite Contrary.” The three blind mice were nobles who were Protestant (Queen Mary was a staunch Catholic), and no, she did not cut off their tails. Instead she had them burned at the stake.

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