| Tuesday, December 23, 2008
For worst children's story/nursery rhyme is: "The Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe"
I guess I'd never really paid attention to this little nugget before. However, today Brielle walked over to me with it in her hand and gave it to me and said "book", which is her precious way of asking me to read. So I popped open that little 4 page book, and read the following story:
There was an old woman, who lived in a shoe...
She had so many children, she didn't know what to do...
She gave them some broth, without any bread...
Then scolded them soundly...
And sent them to bed.
Really, that's the end. I thought maybe some pages were missing. But this is one of those little hard cardboard books, so no chance of pages missing. So then I sat and pondered what the meaning of this poem could be. Was it written to dissuade young women from having too many children? Was it written to show the pitfalls of living in a shoe? Was the old woman a metaphor for a worldly super power and the children representative of warring nations? And since the version I read to Brielle had rabbits as the main character, was it reflective of rabbits in general?
So I googled it. And found an even more disturbing version. The version I found was the original, written in 1883. Instead of scolding them soundly, she "whipped them all soundly". Interesting. Let me get this straight, let me see if I understand. You have an old woman, whose husband is either dead, at work, or out playing golf. She's really frustrated because all of her kids are hungry. So, she gives them soup, without bread. Did she not give them bread as punishment? Did she even have any bread? We may never know. After the children eat, and are somewhat content (based on the illustration) she either A) scolds them for reasons unknown, or B) whips them for reasons unknown, then sends them to bed. That's it.
I think the old woman probably felt under appreciated. Whether the father was alive or not, I think the old woman just needed some "me" time. Perhaps one of her children could have offered to cook dinner instead, while the old woman run upstairs to the 4th lace and took a breather. Whatever the case, the old woman didn't have control of her emotions, and her kids suffered for it. I like to think that after she whipped and scolded them, her husband came home and gave her the business.