Painted wings and giant rings make way for other toys.
One grey night it happened, Jackie Paper came no more,
And puff that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar.
His head was bent in sorrow, green scales fell like rain,
Puff no longer went to play along the cherry lan.
Without his life-long friend, puff could not be brave,
So Puff that mighty dragon sadly slipped into his cave oh.”
I listened to the lyrics of ‘Puff the Magic Dragon’ as the song played in the car. It was a song choice from my kids and one I remembered from my own childhood as well but the realisation of how incredibly sad it is only dawned on me then.
“OMG, poor Puff,” I said.
What I thought was just a song about a dragon turns out to be about the imagination of a young child; a tale of him and his imaginary adventures with his friend Puff and how he grows up and doesn’t need his friend anymore.
And now with this knowledge, I hate it! It makes me so angry at Jackie Paper and I just want to give poor Puff a big cuddle (I will be your friend Puff).
It also made me think about all the other songs my kids are listening to.
Parents are often concerned about the lyrics of the songs from pop stars or rappers but seriously these ‘kid friendly’ songs are the worst!
Be prepared to lose all existing elements of innocence and be ready to perform a massive edit on the ‘Kids’ playlist:
Three Blind Mice.
“They all ran after the farmer’s wife, who cut off their tales with a carving knife.”
I am sorry, I know mice are considered ‘pests’ but promoting their poor tails being chopped off doesn’t sit right with me. Think of Stuart Little, Mickey and Minnie, Remy, Mighty Mouse, would you sing about chopping their tails off? Let’s be nice to animals everyone, no tail chopping; go and by yourself a humane mice trap, a much more effective method and cruelty free.
It’s Raining, It’s Pouring.
“It’s raining; it’s pouring.
"The old man is snoring.
"He bumped his head on the top of the bed,
"And couldn’t get up in the morning.”
Yep, it is about a man who hits his head and dies. A positive little tune to bring a smile to any child’s face.
Jack and Jill.
“Jack and Jill went up the hill,
"To fetch a pail of water.
"Jack fell down,
"And broke his crown;
"And Jill came tumbling after.”
Again, it already isn’t the happiest of songs, just one more about pain and unfortunate accidents. Can’t Jack and Jill fetch come water without severely injuring themselves? But this children’s song or nursery rhyme was originally a poem originating in France with a far more sinister meaning. The characters of Jack and Jill were actually based on King Louis XVI (Jack) and his Queen Marie Antoinette (Jill).
As history tells us King Louis XVI AKA Jack was the last King of France before the monarchy fell thus “losing his crown” and poor Queen Marie Antoinette AKA Jill was beheaded, I am envisioning this is the part that “came tumbling after". What a nice history lesson for us here.
Do Your Ears Hang Low?
“Do your ears hang low?
"Do they wobble to and fro?
"Can you tie 'em in a knot?
"Can you tie 'em in a bow?
"Can you throw 'em over your shoulder?
"Like a continental (regimental) soldier.
"Do your ears hang low?”
So, a bit weird, like whose ears are actually that long? But it turns out the first version of this song actually comes from WWI, soldiers in a battalion are overheard singing it. But they weren’t singing about ears. Rather than “ears” hanging low, they were “balls.”
So, visualise the existing lyrics with ears replaced with balls and you have yourself a different sort of song, which actually probably makes more sense lyrically and anatomically, it just isn’t very ‘kid friendly’.
Rub-A-Dub-Dub, three men in a tub is already pretty weird if you ask me but the original version takes creepy to a new level.
“Hey, rub-a-dub, ho, rub-a-dub,
"Three maids in a tub. And who do you think were there?
"The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker,
"And all of them going to the fair.”
The fair was 14th Century code for the ‘strip club’ where men would go to watch naked women bathe; sounds like the sort of establishment I want to send my girl’s off to (insert sarcasm). All I can say is I am so glad this is not on their playlist!
With that in mind, I am popping on some Eminem and Marilyn Manson where the songs are much more light, bright and kid friendly.
Do you know any other nursery rhymes that have hidden meanings? Tell us in the comments section below.