I don’t know anyone who didn’t have this book in their house when they were growing up. I hadn’t seen it in many years and didn’t even remember it, but now that LTD has his own copy the uncomfortable-ness came screaming back. I am of course speaking about Blanche Fisher Wright’s 1916 classic The Real Mother Goose. In theory by now you have seen the cover and recognize that you had this book when you were a kid. However, if you are like me and have no memory of what is actually in it, allow me to remind you. The book includes traditional rhymes, riddles, songs, and stories like Miss Muffet, Baa, Baa Black Sheep and The House That Jack Built. All innocent enough until you realize that the classic rhymes from your youth are way different then you actually remember. Perhaps the icing on the cake and the perfect illustration of this fact can be found in the original words to The Old Lady That Lived in a Shoe or as it is actually titled, There Was an Old Woman.
“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 whipped them all soundly and put them to bed.”
That’s right, she whipped them and put them to bed simply because she had too many of them and she was overwhelmed because of the shoe housing situation. I could go on and on about how crazy this rhyme is but I think it speaks for itself. I get that the book is almost a hundred years old and should be taken in context, but it might be time for a warning label.