St. Ives

As I was going to St. Ives,
I met a man with seven wives,
Every wife had seven sacks,
Every sack had seven cats,
Every cat had seven kits.
Kits, cats, sacks, and wives,
How many were there going to St. Ives?

Once again, Mother Goose’s neutral treatment of a morally reprehensible practice, in this case polygamy, is disturbing. To her, an encounter with a Lothario merits only an arithmetic challenge, rather than a discussion about his sexist behavior. And let’s not forget that each of these anonymous women is schlepping a sack with 56 hapless animals stuffed into it. Disgusting.

Verdict: Let loose those 343 kittens so they can shred this rhyme with their adorable little claws.

It’s widely understood that Aesop’s fables had a lesson to impart to the reader. It’s less commonly known, but no less true, that the original Grimm’s fairy tales contained a lot of violence and sexual content that was inappropriate for children. But what about Mother Goose? Were the colorfully illustrated nursery rhymes in your Little Golden Book really so innocent? Were they carefully curated to be only about silliness and pat-a-cake? Let’s explore the reality together in this year’s Blogging From A to Z April Challenge.

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