March 20, 2007

Variations on Little Miss Muffet

Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet
Eating her curds and whey,
Along came a spider,
Who sat down beside her
And frightened Miss Muffet away

Mother Goose: Little Miss Muffet (1946)

Read more about Little Miss Muffet and other familiar nursery rhymes on Nursery Rhymes - Lyrics and Origins!

Little Miss Muffet

The Embarrassing Episode of Little Miss Muffet
by Guy Wetmore Carryl

Little Miss Muffet discovered a tuffet,
(Which never occurred to the rest of us)
And, as 'twas a June day, and just about noonday,
She wanted to eat--like the best of us:
Her diet was whey, and I hasten to say
It is wholesome and people grow fat on it.
The spot being lonely, the lady not only
Discovered the tuffet, but sat on it.
A rivulet gabbled beside her and babbled,
As rivulets always are thought to do,
And dragon flies sported around and cavorted,
As poets say dragon flies ought to do;
When, glancing aside for a moment, she spied
A horrible sight that brought fear to her,
A hideous spider was sitting beside her,
And most unavoidably near to her!
Albeit unsightly, this creature politely
Said: "Madam, I earnestly vow to you,
I'm penitent that I did not bring my hat. I
Should otherwise certainly bow to you.
"Though anxious to please, he was so ill at ease
That he lost all his sense of propriety,
And grew so inept that he clumsily stept
In her plate--which is barred in Society.
This curious error completed her terror;
She shuddered, and growing much paler, not
Only left tuffet, but dealt him a buffet
Which doubled him up in a sailor knot.
It should be explained that at this he was pained:
He cried: "I have vexed you, no doubt of it!
Your fists's like a truncheon." "You're still in my luncheon,
Was all that she answered. "Get out of it!"

And the Moral is this: Be it madam or miss
To whom you have something to say,
You are only absurd when you get in the curd
But you're rude when you get in the whey

Heavy Words Lightly Thrown: The Reason Behind the Rhyme
Chris Roberts
"The seamy and quirky stories behind favorite nursery rhymes." Read all about Rub-a-dub-dub, Three blind mice, Yankee doodle,
Baa, baa, black sheep, This old man, Pop goes the weasel, and more... The author is a London librarian who has collected pages of political subversion, religious hatred, past popular sports, and subtle naughtiness. Prepare to change your view of those childhood lullabies that rocked you to sleep. Mommy!!!!!!!!!!