If I were to tell you that we are living in a fairytale world right now, you would likely think I had lost my mind. But what if I told you that we are potentially living in a nursery rhyme?
Depending on who you ask, there is speculation that traditional nursery rhymes were originally created as an early form of news.
In times long before Kindle, most of the commoners were illiterate, meaning that it would prove pointless to print a weekly newspaper. However there were occasional tidbits of news that needed to be sent far and wide throughout the kingdom and be remembered accurately.
Ring around the rosie
The perfect example of this is, the Bubonic Plague. When it first surfaced, people were confused and scared of this mystery disease. It would sweep through a village and indiscriminately claim a large number of lives. Trying to describe the effects and treatment would likely have been lost in translation, so as the theory goes, a song was created. We know it as “Ring around the Rosie”.
I am going to get a bit graphic here, but bear with me. One of the early telltale symptoms of the plague were large blisters or pustules, with a red ring formed around them – or a “Ring of Rosie”.
The Plague doctors that were sent out to treat patients would throw wildflowers on the patients as a treatment (seriously, flowers??) – or “A pocket full of Posies”.
If the cure did not succeed (highly likely) then the person would die. The body would need to be cremated to prevent further infection to villagers – or “Ashes, Ashes, we all fall down”.
And all our favourite nursery rhymes
There are many other examples of nursery rhymes being written to tell a historic story or to deliver a message.
“Three Blind Mice” was written about three bishops who ignored the Queen’s beliefs, and ended up being burned at the stake.
“London Bridge” is apparently about a Viking attack on a Bridge in London (an easy one!).
“Mary Mary, Quite Contrary” is about Queen Mary, or ‘Bloody Mary’. Some of her many torturous devices were named ‘Silver Bells’ and ‘Cockle Shells’. The rest of the rhyme would indicate that she found an interesting fertiliser for her garden.
Coronavirus nursery rhymes
So with that in mind, and the way that the world is currently in lockdown, will the current events one day be sang to children as a lullaby or nursery rhyme? Will COVID-19 be almost romanticised and sterilised into an abstract little tune?
Just think, one day we could be a part of a nursery rhyme sang to our great great grandchildren, and all we had to do was sit on our ass and watch Netflix!
Sounds like a pretty good deal, especially compared to Mary Mary’s pretty maids…