X – The Woman of EXeter

There dwelt an old woman at Exeter;
When visitors came it sore vexed her,
So for fear they should eat,
She locked up all her meat,
This stingy old woman of Exeter.

Some days, I can relate to this lady and just want to be left alone. Now, when I invite visitors that’s a different story. And I can’t relate to the whole stingy aspect of this rhyme. If she was such a stingy crank, who was going to visit her anyway? The rhyme makes the visitors sound like an ongoing problem, but I imagine after the poor treatment her visitors received once, they wouldn’t exactly be clamoring to go back. Welp, good luck lady. Sounds like you are going to die alone and miserable.

As I was going to sell my eggs
I met a man with bandy legs,
Bandy legs and crooked toes;
I tripped up his heels, and he fell on his nose.

The first lady was a jerk, but she was only a jerk to people who intruded on her personal space, presumably without an invitation. This person is just a jerk. A bully, plain and simple. And as is Mother Goose’s tradition, no punishment befalls him. Poor bandy-legged man.

Verdict: Find the kid who tripped up the bandy legged man and smash all his eggs while reciting this poem.

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.


  1. Well, meat does tend to be expensive so maybe that’s why she locks it up. 🙂
    Someday that kid will be old with bandy legs and crooked toes of his own and someone will trip him. Bandy leg’s revenge.

    Liked by 1 person


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