When I was a kid, I was taught these poems:

Georgie porgie

Humpty Dumpty I know Humpty Dumpty was actually a canon, but still it was taught as Egg twins. So only take it on context of rhyme.

Piggy on the railway

and so many others .

All these poems have sad ending, sometimes they are also rude.

What was going on at that time, why these poems are like this?

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    The German childhood story tradition is even more gruesome. I suspect that cautionary tales are meant to be jarring to modify behavior! (I'm not sure this question is on-topic for this site though...) – Kristina Lopez Sep 24 '15 at 18:31
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    You have no idea how many post questions on "What does X mean?" and "Is this correct?" when all that is required is a simple online search. So try to be a little more understanding and less on the defensive. Although Kristina didn't say you hadn't researched. BTW which websites did you look? What search items did you use? Any extra info will save users time and unnecessary effort. – Mari-Lou A Sep 24 '15 at 18:42
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is about cultural history that is not specific to the English language. – choster Sep 24 '15 at 18:43
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    @KristinaLopez Not for nothing are they called "Grimm's." – deadrat Sep 24 '15 at 18:50
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    You're asking for "Criticism, discussion, and analysis of English literature" which is off-topic per the criteria in the Help Center: english.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic I do think it is an interesting question though! – Kristina Lopez Sep 24 '15 at 19:04

To paraphrase Isaac Asimov: "Science fiction isn't violent: read those old folk tales about parents abandoning their children in the woods and the happy ending is that they can live with their father again because their mother died! Hooray! Hooray!" (on Hansel and Gretel).

These folk tales / children's rhymes had lots of repetitions in them to be easily remembered and were told to teach kids things, not to entertain... E.G. the original Santa Claus had 2 black helpers who would take you away from your parents if you were bad or leave you presents when you were nice...

  • He still does! It's what the children sing here every year. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinterklaas – Cerberus_Reinstate_Monica Sep 24 '15 at 22:00
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    @Cerberus: Yeah, but he has more then 2 helpers nowadays and they're not called Huginn and Muninn any more, because that's what this is based upon: Odin, which makes the current controversy in The Netherlands so much funnier for those who do know about the history: his helpers were not black people, but black ravens crawling through the chimney. Over the last 2000 years, they lost more and more of their plumage, but kept the black soot... (Read up on the history of the Christmas tree too: pagan origins) – Fabby Sep 24 '15 at 23:42
  • Still I think there it's too much violence for 2-3 year old kid. – paul Jul 20 '18 at 5:48
  • I agree: I had nightmares for a week about the witch from Disney's Snow White back when I was a wee lad. Favour returned, question upvoted. @paul – Fabby Jul 20 '18 at 20:21
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    It needs to be noted that many "Mother Goose" rhymes (Little Jack Horner, in particular) have been claimed to be essentially political editorials, never intended for children. – Hot Licks Jul 20 '18 at 20:45

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