The Weird Meanings of Childhood Songs

There are some songs that were very common during my childhood. Little did I know, these songs actually have some twisted meanings and date all the back to the 1700s. These famous childhood songs have some really strange origins.

Rock-a-Bye Baby, 1765

Rock a bye baby

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Many people believe that King James II and Mary of Modena’s son wasn’t actually their son. People say a baby was brought in to be passed off as their child to make sure that a Roman Catholic was next in line for the throne. Because of this story, many think that the lullaby is about this child.

Three Blind Mice, 1805

Three Blind Mice

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Queen Elizabeth I was also referred to as Bloody Mary because of all of the murders that were committed during her time as head of the throne. Three Protestant bishops failed at trying to overthrow Queen Elizabeth so they were burned. Some believe that the song Three Blind Mice is about these men and the blindness actually represents religious beliefs.

Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush, 1840

Mulberry Tree

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Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush dates back to 1840 and is said to be about England’s Wakefield Prison. Women prisoners were ordered to exercise and it happened to be around a mulberry tree. So some say that the song is about the female prisoners running around the tree.

Ring Around the Rosie, 1881

Ring Around Rosie

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Ring Around the Rosie might be one of the most popular childhood songs that we all grew up with. It dates back to 1881 and there are a couple theories of how the song came about. Some say the song is in reference to the 1665 Great Plague of London and “the rosie” means the rash and “a pocket full of posies” means the attempt of covering up the smell. About 15 percent of London’s population was killed during the plague so the end of the song, “ashes! Ashes! We all fall down” could be an interpretation of all of the deaths.

But others argue that the song is really about the 19th century religious ban on dancing with Protestants. They say that the song was a way of kids to get around the ban on dancing by playing this song.