Dark Origins – Little Jack Horner, a nursery rhyme

I am over at Writing to be Read with a another Dark Origins post about the nursery rhyme Little Jack Horner. It seems such an innocent little rhyme … but its not. Thank you Kaye Lynne Booth for hosting me.

Writing to be Read

When I was a girl I loved nursery rhymes. I had a beautiful Mother Goose book which I used to read often. Over the years that book disintegrated from frequent use and it was eventually disposed of. When my oldest son was born, I replaced it with a few new nursery rhyme books, all of which are beautifully illustrated.

Nursery Rhymes Are Not What They Seem: The Story Behind “Little Jack Horner”  | History Daily
Picture from: https://historydaily.org/nursery-rhymes-are-not-what-they-seem-the-story-behind-little-jack-horner

One of my favourite nursery rhymes is Little Jack Horner. The modern version goes like this:

Little Jack Horner.

Sat in the corner,

Eating a Christmas pie;

He put in his thumb,

And pulled out plum,

And said “What a good boy am I.”

The text of the original nursery rhyme is somewhat different and is believed to have originated in 1538 during the English Reformation. During the years 1536 to 1541, King Henry VIII set about an administrative and legal process whereby he disbanded monasteries, priories, convents…

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15 thoughts on “Dark Origins – Little Jack Horner, a nursery rhyme

  1. It is a dark tale, Robbie. While I prefer the innocent interpretation of my childhood, I’m pleased you were able to work the ‘possible’ original into one of your tales. 🙂

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    1. Hi Norah, it is interesting to read up about the hypotheses relating to these nursery rhymes. At the very least, you learn a lot of interesting history. This was a childhood favourite of mine and I came across its purported origin quite by accident.

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  2. Reading this and the rest of it at the other site, made me think of the other pie rhyme (well I guess there are a few) but I was thinking of the blackbirds baked in a pie.

    “One of the most well known English nursery rhymes is Sing a Song of Sixpence and it includes the line ‘four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie’. This dates back to the 16th century when bored courtiers were desperate for some distraction from their day to day routine of doing not very much.”

    There are more links and history if you look up the verse 🙂

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