Tag Archives: Jack and Jill

1714. The incomprehensibility of tragedy

When Goldilocks broke into the Three Bears’ House she had to prise open a window. It came as no surprise to her that after all these years they had at last begun to lock their front door.

The first thing she did upon entering was to eat the porridge. As always one was too hot, one too cold, and one just right. Then there were the chairs to sit upon, and the beds to try. All this was done and she fell asleep in the third bed as was usually the case.

When the Three Bears came home they went through the customary rigmarole of who’s been this? and who’s been that? And there she was lying in Baby Bear’s bed!

She was dead.

“The poison in the porridge work!” cried Baby Bear, jumping up and down excitedly. “Hurrah! Hurrah!”

So enamoured were they with the success of their poisonous porridge that they let it loose on any character in any book they could lay their hands on. They became crazed with success. They became serial killers. First it was Humpty-Dumpty; then Little Red Riding Hood. Then it was Jack and Jill, followed by Snow White, and Mary Mary Quite Contrary. Before you knew it, it was Heathcliff and Cathy Earnshaw, then Lorna Doone, and Jane Eyre. Hamlet was on the list, as was King Lear. And finally came Winnie the Pooh.

Oh what a mistake that was!

What happened to Baby Bear? What happened to Baby Bear? They had murdered one of their own. It was an incomprehensible tragedy.

1082. Jack and Jill my foot

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

Up Jack got and home did trot
As fast as he could caper
He went to bed and bound his head
With vinegar and brown paper.

Have you ever heard such balderdash?

The only reason they went “up the hill” was because “hill” rhymes with “Jill”. Obviously, one doesn’t go UP a hill to get water. If anything, one would go DOWN. In fact, they could have gone to a well to get water. It certainly makes more sense. All they need do is change the name from “Jill” to “Nell”.

Jack and Nell went to a well.

It’s possible they went to a “water hole in the bog”, but what girl’s name rhymes with “water hole in the bog”? Brook?

Jack fell down and broke his crown. Presumably they mean “crown of the head”. Well, if he broke that he’d be dead and not capering home to wrap things up with vinegar and brown paper. In all likelihood, he broke his arm. But “arm” doesn’t rhyme with “down”. At least not in my book.

Lies! Lies! Lies! I shudder to think of the lies that have been told throughout history for the sake of a rhyme. Imagine the fibs told by Shakespeare in all those sonnets. No wonder he wrote his plays in blank verse. And the whoppers scattered throughout Milton’s Paradise Lost. Phew! We won’t even begin to go into the Iliad and the Odyssey.

I could indeed go on about Jack and Jill to illustrate further this proclivity to lie for the sake of rhyme, but I won’t. Suffice to say that “water” doesn’t rhyme with “after” like the author clearly thinks it does. This makes it a lie in an unrhyme. Is there nothing true and sacred left in this world of ours?