HEY, DIDDLE, DIDDLE”
“Hey, diddle, diddle…the cat and the fiddle…and the cow jumped over the moon. The little dog laughed to see such sport...and the dish ran away with the spoon.”
That’s one of the oldest Mother Goose rhymes and I used it as the basis for this wall mural that I painted a few years back. It was a fun project and the parents of the yet-to-be-born baby were happy with their new nursery.
I, however, couldn’t get that silly rhyme out of my head. I would be working on something entirely different and it would come back to haunt me. What did it mean? Where had it come from and who was the imaginative person who wrote it? I kept thinking that if I were a foreigner just learning to speak English I would be completely baffled by that jingle.
I decided to do a little research and, bless the internet, I came up with some interesting ideas as to the origin of that rhyme. The one that seemed to be most plausible was from Wikipedia and I quote: “It is likely that this poem is a satire of a scandal during the time of Queen Elizabeth I. The cat is Elizabeth and the dog is Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, whom she once referred to as her ‘lap dog’. It is also speculated that the ‘dish’ is a server at the royal court, whereas the ‘spoon’ referred to the taste-tester.”
Interesting stuff...except where does the cow come in and why is it jumping over a moon? I guess I’ll go to my grave pondering these earth-shaking questions. I did, however, find a version of this poem that my animal-loving friends will relate to, so I will close with that:
“Hey, diddle, diddle, the cat did a piddle...all over the kitchen floor. The little dog laughed to see such a mess...so the cat did a little bit more.”