41 Day 271 – Goosey Goosey Gander…..

”Whither shall I wander……”

Childrens nursery rhymes seem to stay in your mind, even if you haven’t sang them or heard them for many years, I wonder why that is? Is it because as a child they are repeated to you over and over again, or is it that they make such a visual impression at such a very young age, forming a picture in your mind which helps you to remember. This particular nursery rhyme was first published in England in 1784, although lines were added to the rhyme at a later date. Although there is no evidence to prove it, some believe that the rhyme is linked to a propaganda campaign against the  Catholic Church during the reign of Henry v111 but more recently the rhyme also appears in the 1941 Agatha Christie novel ‘N or M’.

The image was taken at a recent country fair, the Kenilworth Show which began in 1944 to showcase the local country community and has enjoyed large crowds this year against the odds. Country fairs are sadly in decline with many no longer in existence, even the likes of the Royal Show which until recently was held at Stoneleigh Abbey Park in Warwickshire just across the road from the Kenilworth show have disappeared from the events calenders. Not only is is sad for the visitors to lose these shows but it is a matter of survival for both trades people and craftsmen alike, who rely on these events to promote and educate as well as earn a living. Countryside skills such as wood-turning, willow weaving, hedge laying, coppicing, together with horsemanship, farrier displays and farming practices are sights rarely seen in today’s modern world and these shows are a way to keep them going and hopefully encourage a new generation to appreciate the skill involved. After all, these people were the backbone of this country for hundreds of years, long before the computer and mobile phone ruled our lives!

So before I go, here is the rhyme in full both the original dating back to 1784 and the more modern version…..you can make your own mind up about the history of the rhyme, but next time you see a local show or county fair advertised, please go along. I guarantee that you will enjoy yourself and you may even learn something new!

Oldest recorded version:

Goose-a goose-a gander,
Where shall I wander?
Up stairs and down stairs,
In my lady’s chamber;
There you’ll find a cup of sack
And a race of ginger.[1]

Modern version:

Goosey goosey gander,
Whither shall I wander?
Upstairs and downstairs
And in my lady’s chamber.
There I met an old man
Who wouldn’t say his prayers,
So I took him by his left leg
And threw him down the stairs.




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