Of all of the nursery rhymes in the English language, Three Blind Mice is among the most beloved. It pops up in popular culture all over the place; shows, songs, etc., and there’s no denying its dark nature. But has it always been that way?
The first known version of the rhyme was published in 1609 by Thomas Ravenscroft, and the words didn’t seem so violent at that point.
Written by the famous imaginary author, Mother Goose, the poem was first published in 1794 and explores the daily lives of a struggling family.
Some say that it alluded to the eight children of monarchs King George II and Queen Caroline, though they certainly had the means, if not will, to take care of their offspring. But then, what about control of Parliament?
The rhyme has also been said to have been focusing on a number of famous figures throughout history, including Elizabeth Vergoose of Boston.
Vergoose had six biological and ten stepchildren. She is also speculated to be THE “Mother Goose,” if there ever were, in fact, such a person in history.
In the original version of the rhyme, the poor mice don’t end up getting their tails cut off by a woman with a carving knife. Some speculate that the woman in the poem who uses the carving knife is none other than the infamous Queen (Bloody) Mary.
Again, they believed it alluded to the harsh religious situation of the times. But was there indeed a hidden message within these words, or was it just a silly rhyme?
The Full Version
In the popular, modernized version of the rhyme, the poor mice wind up in the hands of a madwoman who cuts their tails off with a carving knife. However, in the full version, published in 1904, they wind up living happily ever after.
Not just that, but they actually learn some new skills along the way. The book is titled "The Complete Version of ye Three Blind Mice."