“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”

Now this is one of the most popular nursery rhymes. We learnt it, recited and sang it times innumerable when we were children. Distasteful happenings comprise this rhyme!

Recently when playing with my baby daughter and watching or listening to the popular nursery rhymes along with; I started finding quite a few of the popular nursery rhymes rather objectionable.

It struck me that most of the popular English nursery rhymes have noticeable elements of  physical hurt or violence comprised in them.

Take this Jack and Jill rhyme. This falling down, breaking his crown and the tumbling down the hill is what this nursery rhyme is mainly about. All about physical hurt!



Then this Humpty Dumpty one. Another very popular nursery rhyme.

“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall

All the king’s horses

And all the king’s men

Couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty together again”

And the visuals now that invariably go along with this rhyme exacerbate things further.  Humpty Dumpty – egg in human clothes – is shown badly broken with the further miserable sight of being unable to be put together despite best efforts.

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The Goose rhyme takes the cake but in malice & violence.

“GOOSEY, goosey, gander,

Where do you wander?

Upstairs and downstairs,

And in my lady’s chamber;

There I met an old man

That would not say his prayers;

I took him by the left leg,

And threw him downstairs”

What a vindictive & violent goose ! What must the child be learning from all this !

No sorry ! It’s the three blind mice which takes the cake.

“Three blind mice, three blind mice,

They all ran after the farmer’s wife,

She cut off their tails with a carving knife;

Did you ever see such a thing in your life

As three blind mice?”


Then that pussy cat rhyme that talks about the pussycat going to London and FRIGHTENING a little mouse under the chair. And Little Tommy Thin, who in the well, threw the cat IN !

These are just examples.

When you hear nursery rhymes next; notice the elements of physical hurt, violence or even malice or callousness comprised or reflected by quite a few of them.

The earliest education plays a critical role in laying the foundation for the child’s mind and character. The popular nursery rhymes don’t seem to appreciate this. Often reflecting or comprising negative elements or influences of physical hurt, violence or even malice or callousness; they tend to influence behaviour of the baby-fresh minds on negative lines.

Whereas influences on such incipient minds should be all healthy and positive; – where the earliest education through nursery rhymes is concerned. The earliest education should impress upon the better things in life, such as matters of beauty, goodness etc. An instance of such nursery rhyme – while maintaining simplicity as required for young children – can be as follows.

“Bird on the tree,

You look so free !

And fly so high,

To clouds in the sky!

Bird on the tree,

Looking at me !

What songs it sings!

As it flies on its wings !”

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Fresh nursery rhymes are required ! Rhymes which influence with better things in life, rather than otherwise as is the case with quite a few of the ongoing popular nursery rhymes !



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