A nursery rhyme is a traditional poem or song for young children popular in many countries, usage dates from the late 18th / early 19th century.
The oldest children's songs of which we have records are lullabies, which were intended to help a child sleep. Nursery Rhymes may also have an educational aspect to them. It has been argued that nursery rhymes set to music aid in a child's development. Research also supports the assertion that music and rhyme increase a child's ability in spatial reasoning, which aid mathematics skills.
There has been much speculation over the meaning of many nursery rhymes, with some inking famous nursery-rhyme characters with real people, often with little or no evidence. This made under the assumption that they couldn’t only be written for enjoyment or entertainment. Often the “hidden” meaning of nursery rhymes have a sinister origin.
Some of the more sinister meanings of some nursery rhymes:
BAA, BAA, BLACK SHEEP (1731)
Though most scholars agree that “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep” is about the Great Custom, a tax on wool that was introduced in 1275, its use of the colour black and the word “master” led some to wonder whether there was a racial message at its centre. Its political correctness was called into question in the latter part of the 20th century, with some schools banning it from being repeated in classrooms, and others simply switching out the word “black” for something deemed less offensive. In 2011, news.com.au reported on the proliferation of “Baa, Baa Rainbow Sheep” as an alternative.
GOOSEY GOOSEY GANDER (1784)
It is believed to actually be a tale of religious persecution, during the days when Catholic priests would hide themselves in order to say their Latin-based prayers, a major no-no at the time—not even in the privacy of one’s own home. In the original version, the narrator comes upon an old man “who wouldn’t say his prayers. So I took him by his left leg. And threw him down the stairs.”
THREE BLIND MICE (1805)
“Three Blind Mice” is supposedly an ode to Bloody Mary’s reign, with the trio in question believed to be a group of Protestant bishops—Hugh Latimer, Nicholas Radley, and The Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer—who (unsuccessfully) conspired to overthrow the queen and were burned at the stake for their heresy. Critics suggest that the blindness in the title refers to their religious beliefs.
RING AROUND THE ROSIE (1881)
“Ring Around the Rosie” is probably the most infamous of all. Though its lyrics and even its title have gone through some changes over the years, the most popular contention is that the verse refers to the 1665 Great Plague of London. “The rosie” is the rash that covered the afflicted, the smell from which they attempted to cover up with “a pocket full of posies.” The plague killed nearly 15 percent of the country’s population, which makes the final verse—“Ashes! Ashes! We all fall down”—rather self-explanatory.
Of course it not all doom and gloom with nursery rhymes, many are just happy melodies with some fun words attached to them :)
Some even may be able to teach us a thing or too
In the song "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" for example, "Your boat" could signify your life, you are the oarsmen, rowing down the river of time. You are constantly rowing, meaning you are constantly working at life, rowing towards the end. Of course some people row too quickly and race along, but miss too much along the way, this is not the way to go. You should rather go gently, slowing with the current. You can't force it, you just simply go with the flow. Furthemore, we should be happy. The song says merrily down the stream, not angrily haha. So "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" could be seen as a lesson on how to live our lives, hang in there, row your boat, and make your life a dream :D
This forms part of the Puzzle Containers Series, the others can be found here:
Puzzle Containers 1 - Bottlelock = GC67T4P
Puzzle Containers 2 - The Ultimate Renaissance Man = GC67WVH
Puzzle Containers 3 - Spin the Box = GC67KXR
Puzzle Containers 4 - Electricity Rebooted = GC6A98V
Puzzle Containers 5 - String Theory = GC69D1W
Puzzle Containers 7 - Big In Japan? = GC6BPKQ
Puzzle Containers 8 - Balancing Act = GC6E22F
Puzzle Containers 9 - Deep Breath = GC6FR68
Puzzle Containers 10 - The Key is the Key = GC6JNEZ
Puzzle Containers 11 - Music Boxes = GC6MK81
Puzzle Containers 12 - Pipe = GC6W4C5
Puzzle Containers 13 - Dexterity = GC70N4E
Puzzle Containers 14 - Choo Choo = GC74NGV