Who was Mother Goose: Real or Fantasy?
Mother Goose could have been a man or woman, or multiple writers from different countries entirely. Bertrada II, of Laon in 740 married Pepin the Short, King of the Franks, and was known as Berte aux grand pied (Bertha Greatfoot or Queen Goosefoot.) Later French peasants compared her to a fairy birdmother who read to children. In the French book La Muse Historique the line "Comme un conte de la Mere Oye" translates to "Like a Mother Goose story." Englishman Robert Powel put on puppet shows between 1709-1711 and has a script titled "Mother Lowse." Some agrue her origins as Mary Goose of Boston but much research conducted by literary fans of the mysterious alias suggest this to be false. Some believe the concept of a woman and a magical goose originates from a classical period terra cotta statue of Aphrodite standing on a goose with wings open to fly.
Rhymes and Nursery or Signs of History:
Ba Ba Blacksheep's last line originally said "And none for the little boy who cries in the lane" and may be referring to King Edward I's wool tax.
Humpty Dumpty was possibly a cannon used during the English Civil War (1642-51) in which Thomas Fairfax and his soldiers defeated the royalists shortly after the weapon fell off the church tower of Saint Mary-at-the-Walls.
Old Mother Goose may describe a witch because she rides a flying goose, has a house in the woods, and an owl which sometimes were assumed to be familiars stands guard.
Mary Mary Quite Contrary may be referring to Bloody Mary, Queen of England and that silver bells and cockle shells were instruments of torture. "Pretty maids in a row" could be referencing her numerous guillotines.
Rub-a-dub-dub originally read "three maids in the tub" and may have been referring to a peep show.
by Ryan D. Friend