The reality of nursery rhymes | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 05, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 05, 2018


The reality of nursery rhymes

Do you want to know what the teachers didn't tell you at school? The real stories behind the nursery rhymes you memorised and got 10/10 on, to be forgotten years later without any consequences. Well, sit back because your mind is about to be blown away.


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


The ultimate lesson on the perils of extreme obsession with someone. It doesn't take two people to get water and yet Jill decided to accompany Jack. Jill brought calamity with her as well, and Jack had to pay for it. In the end, both met their demise on top of that accursed hill. If only Jack went alone he might not have lost his step. If only Jill didn't chase her love, she wouldn't have tumbled down. The greatest tragedy.


Baa, baa, black sheep,

Have you any wool?

Yes, sir, yes, sir,

Three bags full;

One for the master,

And one for the dame,

And one for the little boy

Who lives down the lane.


“Black sheep” refers to the bad members of society who have brought disgrace or shame to their own community. How exactly are the sheep in question doing it? By pulling the wool over people's eyes (deception). This rhyme is a conversation between a corrupt third-party who seeks unethical assistance from the black sheep. He asks if the sheep has any wool (deceptive tactics), to which the latter enthusiastically answers in the affirmative, in fact, bags full of them. They discuss what strategies they'll adopt to trick their three main targets. They pick one for the governing authority (master), one to fool women into oppression (dame), and one for plebs like you and me (little boy). Really makes you think, doesn't it?


The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the waterspout.

Down came the rain

and washed the spider out.

Out came the sun

and dried up all the rain

and the itsy bitsy spider climbed up the spout again.


Perseverance is one of the most important traits to become successful. Not everyone is endowed with the same opportunities and privileges, but everyone can persevere. So what if you didn't get that GPA 5 in SSC? Get up and try to get it in your HSC, and even if that doesn't happen, keep a high CGPA in university. You'll get multiple chances to climb the waterspout, and it will be raining a lot of times as well, but once you stop climbing it's all over. Surely enough, chances are that the sun will come out one day and dry up all the rain. You just have to hang in there till then, itsy bitsy one.


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 together again.


Hmm, I wonder which wall they're talking about. The Great Wall of China? The Berlin Wall? I can't think of anything else, esé. Whichever one it is, this rhyme clearly illustrates the grim realities of dividing areas and separating the masses. Humpty Dumpty, the leader of the governing body which built the wall, was proud of his creation. Alas, it didn't take long for the whole region to revolt and end up in turmoil. In the end, Sir Humpty fell off his high pedestal because of his own creation. No one could pull him up, not even the king with all his resources. Mr Humpty will be remembered in history as the ultimate egghead who became drunk with power.


Twinkle, twinkle, little star,

How I wonder what you are!

Up above the world so high,

Like a diamond in the sky.


At first we thought the sun revolved around us, and we were wrong. Then we realised that there were more suns just like ours. New solar systems, new galaxies, nebulas, superclusters, black holes, how far we've come and how far we still have to go. Geniuses like Galileo, Newton, Einstein, and of course, Hawking have immensely helped us pave the path to the wonderful world of space. In addition to being extremely smart, they did something the others did not: wonder about the world and what else there might be. If you just want to take away only one lesson from these people, it is to look up into the vastness up above, marvel at the sight of those diamonds and wonder what else might there be.

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