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Know Your History

Hickory Dickory Dock. Old McDonald Had a Farm. Pop Goes the Weasel. Hey Diddle Diddle. The Muffin Man. Little Jack Horner.

I could go on and on. These and many others, are childhood songs and nursery rhymes that I learned, well, as a child. Innocent songs for the innocence of childhood. Right? Or are they? Things are not always what they seem, and very often we lose sight of origins. Let's take a look at one of the above-mentioned songs.

There are many versions of this horrifying story. The man was also known as the Drury Lane Dicer and was the first known serial killer in England. His name was Frederic Thomas Lynwood. He was born in 1563 and died in 1612. He was a baker by trade.

Every morning, families could expect to find a parcel of bread for that day’s meals. A popular morning meal was muffins, more like English muffin bread. Frederic Thomas Lynwood, aka The Muffin Man, would make his deliveries just like other bakers, but he would lure children away from their homes by playfully tying a string to a muffin and pulling it away from the steps where the parcel lay. The kids, likely thinking this was a fun game, would chase the muffins, which led to The Muffin Man’s bakery, where he would kill the children. But not before torturing them. Lynwood murdered 15 children between the years 1589 and 1598.

It is said, children came up with a catchy sing-song rhyme to sing that supposedly was a way to warn other children to stay away from Lynwood’s bakery and to be wary of those around them.

Humpty Dumpty

Baa, Baa, Black Sheep

Georgie Porgie

London Bridge Is Falling Down

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary

Three Blind Mice

Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe

Rock-A-Bye Baby

Goosey Goosey Gander

Ring Around the Rosie

Rub A Dub Dub

Yankee Doodle

Old Mother Hubbard

All of those songs and childhood nursery rhymes have their origins in something much darker. They really have nothing to do with childhood. And yet we continue to sing them to our children, just like our parents sung them to us.

One of my favorites as a child was Ring Around the Rosie. But there is nothing rosy about the origins of this song.

The rhyme is associated with the deadly stages of the London Plague in the 17th century and the Black Death in the 14th century. “Ring around the rosie” actually refers to the bubo, or swelling of the lymph nodes, which was a symptom of the illness. The swelling was circular (the ring) and it was dotted by a red rash at the center (the rosie). Those who fell ill gave off a very pungent smell, which was covered up with flowers. Hence the line, “a pocket full of posies.” And then finally, death took the victims, as depicted in the last line, “we all fall down.” (Source:

What is my point? The point is this:

We can continue a tradition, handed down to us from previous generations, that has no foundation is truth. We can repeat words and phrases, rituals and rites that have no foundation in the Bible.

"And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” And he said to it is written, “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!" "thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.” Mark 7:5-9, 13 ESV

This was just as true then as it is now.

I guess I would simply say, make certain that the things you believe and teach are solid. Don't believe for the sake of honoring your parents teachings; believe because you have searched God's word and found the truth therein.

Songs are wonderful, but are the words uplifting and true?

Having a pastor, minister, or bishop is important. Listen to that leader, but also open your Bible and read for yourself.

God did not design the Bible to be read and understood by a select few. If you are willing to learn the truth, with the divine help of the Holy Spirit, the truth will be revealed to you, But you must ask for it.

"And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love." Ephesians 4:11-16 ESV

by Jeanette Stark - Wednesday, December 28, 2022

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