There was a little man, and he had a little gun,
And his bullets were made of lead, lead, lead;
He shot Johnny King through the middle of his wig,
And knocked it right off his head, head, head.
It’s hard to say exactly what happened here. Is this an assassination attempt, poorly executed? Or a case of stupidity and excessive horseplay? Was Johnny King a real king, a horrible tyrant deserving of assassination? Was the little man his friend or a sworn enemy? Were they drunk? Was Johnny King a willing participant in this stupid game? Were these highly skilled circus performers? I don’t think I have enough information to judge whether this rhyme is keeper or a junker, but ambiguity seems a poor choice with this subject matter.
Verdict: Write the rhyme on a large sheet of paper and use it for target practice.
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.