Young Roger and Dolly

Young Roger came tapping at Dolly’s window,
Thumpaty, thumpaty, thump!
He asked for admittance; she answered him “No!”
Frumpaty, frumpaty, frump!
“No, no, Roger, no! as you came you may go!”
Stumpaty, stumpaty, stump!

Now this is more like it. I don’t know what the relationship between Roger and Dolly is or was, but you can bet she won’t be letting him take her anywhere in a wheelbarrow or plastering his head with brown paper and then getting in trouble for it. You go, Dolly! Continue reading →

Pumpkin Eater

Peter, Peter, pumpkin-eater,
Had a wife and couldn’t keep her;
He put her in a pumpkin shell,
And there he kept her very well.

So…I don’t think it’s unreasonable for me to think that if he couldn’t keep her and had to lock her away in a pumpkin shell, there is something terribly wrong with this relationship. Let’s just say it – this is kidnapping! How on earth can this be one of the most common Mother Goose rhymes? It’s cute, I suppose, to see a little woman living inside a pumpkin—I mean, I loved the story of Thumbelina when I was little—but it seems clear that this woman wants out of this relationship. The lack of punishment or any sort of negative consequences for this outrageous and illegal behavior is disturbing. Continue reading →

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
Silver bells and cockle-shells,
And pretty maids all of a row.

On the surface, this rhyme is innocuous, inoffensive (or is it?). Flowers are lovely and it sounds like Mary might have some serious gardening skills, which is not to be scoffed at. It would be better if she were growing beets and carrots and peas, learning how to provide for herself, but flowers do make the world lovely. However, I have to wonder why Mother Goose describes Mary as contrary without offering any evidence to support this characterization. Given Mother Goose’s bad track record when it comes to portraying women, I wonder if she doesn’t like that Mary is working outside, doing something on her own, instead of sitting around, taking orders and taking care of the house and children. Continue reading →