Taffy was a Welshman,
Taffy was a thief,
Taffy came to my house,
And stole a leg of beef.

I went to Taffy’s house,
Taffy was not at home;
Taffy came to my house
And stole a marrow-bone.

I went to Taffy’s house,
Taffy was in bed;
I took the marrow-bone,
And broke Taffy’s head.

Vigilante justice, ok! Now Mother Goose is getting badass. I know we live in a society that relies on law and order, and we aren’t supposed to take matters into our own hands, but I can’t help cheering the narrator on in this case. I’m not entirely sure the punishment fits the crime—breaking someone’s head is hard core—but vigilante justice is swift and probably not any more often misplaced or disproportionate than legally sanctioned justice is. I do have to wonder about the “Welshman” comment. Is it necessary to know where Taffy was from? Is there a twinge of bigotry in here? I did a bit of keyboard research to find out about stereotypes against the Welsh and, well, I won’t talk about what came up first. Check out urban dictionary if you are curious. I found this and immediately thought, ah that’s where “to welch” comes from. I’m going to stop this now before I keep going down a bad path. I have nothing against the Welsh!

Verdict: People who end up in jail for assault should be forced to read this rhyme. They could have fared much worse for their actions.

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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