Home » Reviews » The meaning behind Hey Diddle Diddle.

The meaning behind Hey Diddle Diddle.

Nursery rhymes might seem like a bit of harmless fun but many of them have a dark roots placed in our folklore. One of the best known and common examples of this is the song Ring a Ring of Roses which is a folk memory about the Black Death/ Great plague. Whilst the rhyme may seem to make light of the situation it acts as point of remembrance, a way of passing on to the next generation the memory of a terrible time. They even have a past well beyond that.

Image credit

Take for example the rhyme Hey Diddle Diddle. It goes “Hey Diddle Diddle, the Cat and the Fiddle, the Cow jumped over the Moon. The little Dog laughed to see such fun and the Dish ran away with the Spoon”.  Taken on its face value it is just absurdist nonsense. Felines are incapable of playing instruments, Bovine interstellar journeys are impossible, dogs cannot laugh and Cutlery, while very useful, is inanimate. I wonder whether it was basic cutlery or more like the Restaurant Cutlery that is designed and created by companies like http://www.heritagesilverware.com/category/cutlery

Image credit

The rhymes current format originates in the Sixteenth century. However, there is evidence that it has been around for the last thousand years as we have manuscripts from the Middle Ages illuminated with a cat playing a fiddle to symbolise mirth. Mention of it is made in a 1569 play where “They can play a new dance called hey-diddle-diddle” but no references to escaping cutlery or cat string soloists are made. One popular thought is that it could be a nod to a particularly heavy session in a pub. The name “The Cat and Fiddle” was used quite a lot for hostelries in the fifteen hundreds. It appears in its, almost, modern form in 1765 but the words Fun were originally craft and a Fork runs off with the Spoon. Perhaps cutlery was more rebellious than flatware in those days.

As to its meaning; there are a few ideas on this. Some scholars think that it is from ancient Greece and was a veiled attack on the worship of the Goddess Hathor, who was either the lover or the Mother of the Sun God Ra (no one is really sure based on the hieroglyphs). Others believe it is a way of remembering star constellations and their relationship to each other or it is about the Jews Exodus from Egypt. Some ascribe to it political connotations (some Nursery rhymes are) such as the possible romantic goings on between Queen Elizabeth and Lady Katherine Grey with Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester and Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford. Another going back even further relates to Katherine of Aragon or Russia’s Catherine the Great having a laugh with some ministers and another says its about public moaning regarding Catholic priests not working hard enough.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Blog Roll

http://wikimodel.org/ Business and Tech Guide.

Top news from the Daily Express

SuperWebTricks Loading...