What nursery fables really mean– Funny

I woke up in a horrid way this morning so have decided to write a funny blogpost about what children’s fairy tales and nursery rhymes REALLY mean. I didn’t get these things as a kid so forgive me if I get something wrong. This is just what I see.

So here’s a few kid’s tales and what their morals really are.

—Jack Sprat could eat no fat his wife could eat no lean. And so betwixt the two of them they licked the platter clean. God, what a horrific little rhyme? I suppose the moral is that marriage is a teamwork thing or something like that. But the real message is clearly about majorly disordered relationships to food. I mean, the guy eats NO fat? The woman eats ONLY fat? Very unhealthy. And what about the big goal being served at the end, that all the food was eaten? Surely we don’t want to teach our kids that there’s a “goal” to eating and that goal is to eat everything there is. Not so much. A better tale would be of two people who eat well balanced diets each day and ate to feed their bodies and be healthy so they could play.

–Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpthy had a great fall. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again. So much is wrong with this I don’t know where to begin. What can the moral be of an egg sitting on a wall and falling off? Take care not to sit on walls if you’re a chicken or chicken by-product? I mean, why would an egg be on a wall in the first place? How did he get up there? Surely he couldn’t jump, not having limbs and all. But let’s say he gets up there somehow. How in god’s name could he be thinking that as an oval he wouldn’t fall crashing to the ground? If he was a square or rectangle maybe. What can be going on there for god’s sake? And then there’s the concept of the army stepping in and being unable to fix the damaged guy. That sends a pretty unpromising message about government effectiveness doesn’t it? And why in god’s name would the king send horses to try to fix an egg. Horses have hooves. How could they not just trample the egg into the ground? It’s pretty intricate work, fixing an eggshell after all. Opposable thumbs are really important here. Imagine it for a second, why would horses be anywhere the poor fellow? All they could really do, maybe at a reach, would be to make a scrambled egg out of the thing. It’s a terrible, terrible lesson to teach kids about government. Let’s just skip this confused helpless egg story altogether.

—Industrious mouse and lazy mouse. We all know this one, right? All spring and summer and fall industrious mouse worked and worked, building himself a little house and packing in firewood and food supplies for the winter while lazy mouse hung about doing nothing but playing around and hanging about. Then, when winter comes, lazy mouse is frozen and hungry, goes to industrious mouse’s abode and is taken in. Generosity and the value of hard work are supposed to be the themes of the day here, right? Industrious mouse has his cozy little cabin because he has worked so hard and lazy mouse has shitall because he’s goofed off all year. And the inevitable story about charity and sharing comes in when lazy mouse is saved. This is not at all the moral of the story. The moral story is go ahead and screw around because somebody will take care of your lazy ass when winter comes. Lesson One in how to create a welfare state. That is what the mouse story really says. Not so much.

–A wise old owl live in an oak, the more he saw the less he spoke, the less he spoke the more he heard, why can’t we all be like that wise old bird?> As somebody who is trying to thrive from child sexual abuse, this one just infuriates me. The idea is to keep kids quiet, seen and not heard. What a dangerous and maddening moral. Children need to know that they should tell their stories, all their stories.
Good ones rooted in imaginative play, bad ones from abuses that are heaped on the young. Talk talk talk talk talk. It’s the parents who need to keep quiet and listen. Grrrr this one gets my goat.

Okay, so I have discovered that there are scads of nursery rhymes that teach just weird and stupid stories. So each Friday my contribution will be to analyze three or four of them. If you want me to analyze your favorite rhyme just lemme know. Happy Friday 😉



  1. Sheri said,

    July 9, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    This is wonderful! My beloved says that old nursery rhymes are politically based. He knows most of them but I can’t think of any at the moment (of course).

    • Splinteredones said,

      July 9, 2010 at 2:28 pm

      This is kind of a tongue-in-cheek approach, but some of them are just horrid. Thanks!

  2. mentallygoingbackwards said,

    July 10, 2010 at 4:40 am

    im still laughing hysterically about humpty dumpty. I love the way you worded it. I tried meditating last night. check my blog for how i got on. i feel very positive today 😀 thanks

  3. Splinteredones said,

    July 10, 2010 at 6:15 am

    Yes, Humpty Dumpty deserves his own blog I think. I’m so glad you tried meditating, trying is what matters most! Good on u and thanks again

  4. Moderator said,

    July 12, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Great post! You had me chuckling. I was going through some of your older posts, and see that you’ve struggled with anxiety and suicidal thoughts, among other things. I run a non-profit website at http://sisterhoodofstrength.wordpress.com. I publish contributions of art, poetry, fiction, and non-fiction from wonderful women like you, who suffer from mental illness. I was wondering if you’d like to contribute something. You can visit the blog for more information, or email me at sisterhoodofstrength at gmail dot com. 🙂 I look forward to hearing from you!

    • July 12, 2010 at 12:56 pm

      I’d love to! Thanks for the comment I love it when I can make people laugh–in spite of it all 😉

  5. Sarah Hall said,

    August 27, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    Actually humpty dumpty wasn’t an egg. he was a cannon in a war which fell off and broke many of the kings men tried to lift it back but if was to heavy even for the horses to lift….

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