-->''Sing a song of sixpence,''
-->''A pocketful of rye''
-->''Four-and-twenty blackbirds''
-->''Baked in a pie.''

Nursery rhymes. Full of rhyme and rhythm and odd images. Not so full of sense.

-->''Rock-a-bye baby in the treetop''
-->''When the wind blows the cradle will rock''
-->''When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall''
-->''And down will come baby, cradle and all.''

Nursery rhymes are a form of [[OralTradition oral folklore]] and overlap with children's songs, lullabies and riddles. They may be connected to ParlorGames. Counting-out rhymes are a subgroup.

-->''Patty-cake, patty-cake, baker's man,''
-->''Bake me a cake as fast as you can.''
-->''Roll it and squash it and mark it with a B''
-->''And ''dash'' it in the oven for baby and me.''

The English nursery rhymes specifically are connected with the name of Mother Goose, whence they are also called 'Mother Goose rhymes'. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother_Goose Mother Goose]] is an old folklore figure or stereotype -- an archetypal elderly country woman, who was originally interpreted as [[TheStoryteller a teller]], or mythical originator of {{fairy tale}}s; but her focus shifted to nursery rhymes in the late 18th century. She also figures in a nursery rhyme herself, and is the subject of a traditional {{pantomime}}. She is usually portrayed wearing a tall hat and shawl (the old Welsh peasant costume), except when she is an [[FunnyAnimal anthropomorpic goose]].

-->''One, two, put on a shoe''
-->''Three, four, knock at the door''
-->''Five, six, pick up sticks''
-->''Seven, eight, lay them straight''
-->''Nine, ten, a big fat hen.''

Characters from nursery rhymes, like Old King Cole, Humpty Dumpty, or Mother Goose herself are {{Public Domain Character}}s that may feature in all kinds of works. The writer may try to explain their rhymes -- often enough, with a {{parody}} origin.

-->''Hey-diddle-diddle, the cat and the fiddle''
-->''The cow jumped over the moon''
-->''The little dog laughed to see such a sight.''
-->''And the dish ran away with the spoon.''

Modern lore often attributes macabre and horrifying "origin stories" to nursery rhymes; the most widespread possibly being that "Ring Around the Rosy" is a song about [[TheBlackDeath the plague]]. While that particular example is most likely {{Urban Legend|s}}, debate continues for others. The origins of most nursery rhymes are simply not known, and many are in all likelyhood nonsense rhymes that never made much sense. There are, however, more firmly rooted examples demonstrating that this can be TruthInTelevision. "There was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe", for instance:

--> There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.
--> She had so many children, she didn't know what to do;
--> She gave them some broth without any bread;
--> Then whipped them all soundly and put them to bed.

Not only is the rhyme itself openly dark, but its second printed appearance[[note]] in 1797, the first printed appearance being in 1794, with predating references indicating that it existed as oral tradition long before that.[[/note]] documents an additional, even darker and stranger couplet. Its wording hints at a Shakespearean-era origin, and bolsters a suspicion among folklorists that it has a lost political or allegorical meaning as well:

--> Then out went th' old woman to bespeak 'em a coffin,
--> And when she came back, she found 'em all a-loffeing[[note]]laughing uproariously[[/note]]

NewerThanTheyThink also often applies to this, with people sometimes attributing much older meanings to nursery rhymes that are much more recent ("Pop Goes The Weasel" for example is thought to only be about 150 years old).

Obviously, drawn upon for IronicNurseryTune. May also feature in a FracturedFairyTale. Compare the PlaygroundSong.


[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* Several nursery rhyme characters appear in ''{{ComicBook/Fables}}'' and even more in the spinoff ''JackOfFables''.
* Creator/DCComics supervillain Solomon Grundy is named after a nursery rhyme; "Solomon Grundy, born on a Monday..."


[[folder: Fairy Tales ]]

* In "[[http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/authors/grimms/198maidmaleen.html Maid Maleen]]", the tower inspired children to sing a nursery rhyme as they passed it.


[[folder: Literature ]]

* In Creator/LewisCarroll's ''Literature/ThroughTheLookingGlass'', Alice meets up with Humpty Dumpty himself and Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Resulting in her being quite GenreSavvy: she knows that the king has promised to send all his horses and men to help Humpty Dumpty, and she awaits the crow with great anticipation, to break up the fight.
* Creator/JRRTolkien wrote several "expanded" versions of nursery rhymes, filling in background to make them "reasonable". The idea is that these are the "original" versions, and what we remember today are just vague fragments that don't make any sense on their own. He attributed them to Bilbo and put one -- from "Hey diddle diddle" -- in Frodo's mouth in the ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings''.
** His rendition of "Hey, diddle diddle" is, in fact, a drinking song. [[AllMusicalsAreAdaptations The musical]] does a rendition of it.
* Jack Spratt of Jasper Fforde's ''Literature/NurseryCrime'' books is himself a nursery rhyme figure and runs across several others. (Though his ambit includes {{Fairy Tale}}s as well.)
* Mrs. Wren in Creator/JohnCWright's ''Chronicles of Chaos'' makes use of rhymes as enchantments. Taffy ap Cyrmu, in the same work, takes his name from one: "Taffy was a Welshman, Taffy was a thief."
* In Creator/NeilGaiman's ''Literature/{{Stardust}}'', nursery rhymes contain great secrets. One character jeers at the way ordinary people recite them to babies.
* Creator/NeilGaiman's short story "The Case of the Four-and-Twenty Blackbirds" humorously places Mother Goose characters in a parody of crime noir, as "Little" Jack Horner, private eye, attempts to solve the murder of Humpty Dumpty.
* In Creator/DianaWynneJones's ''Deep Secret'', one of the Deep Secrets of the title is hidden in a nursery rhyme, and the hero has to interpret it in order to save the LoveInterest's life.
* Creator/AgathaChristie titled several novels after nursery rhymes. In ''A Pocket Full of Rye'', and more famously ''And Then There Were None'', victims are murdered in the manner of a nursery rhyme.
* In Creator/DevonMonk's ''Literature/MagicToTheBone'', Allie uses "Miss Mary Mack" as her mantra.


[[folder: Live Action Television ]]

* In the ''Series/DoctorWho'' serial ''[[Recap/DoctorWhoS10E3FrontierInSpace Frontier in Space]]'', Jo prevents her hypnosis by reciting nursery rhymes.
* In ''Literature/TheConditionsOfGreatDetectives'' one episode (called "Nursery Rhyme Murder") evolves around murders following the lyrics of a television station's old nursery rhyme, which told the story of how ten little children died one by one. The fact there's ten verses upsets Tenkaichi because he can't stop the murderer until the rhyme is finished (as it's one of the conditions) but if he lets ten people die his popularity will tumble.
* ''Series/MotherGooseTreasury'' might as well be Nursery Rhyme: The Show. It is all about the title character's interaction with Nursery Rhyme characters.


[[folder: Newspaper Comics ]]

* In ''ComicStrip/FrankAndErnest'', when dealing with FairyTale characters, such figures as Little Bo-Peep also appear.
* And ''ComicStrip/MotherGooseAndGrimm'' does it too, naturally.
* ''ComicStrip/{{Mutts}}'' has a book club; a goose, one reader, resorts to nursery rhymes quite often.


[[folder: Theatre ]]

* Mother Goose often features in {{pantomime}}, albeit as a real woman ([[CrossCastRole honest]]) who [[RuleofPersonificationConservation has had children and happens to own]] [[PantomimeAnimal a very large goose]] [[note]] who'll probably lay a golden egg at some point during the performance[[/note]].
* In Creator/DorothyLSayers' ''Theatre/TheEmperorConstantine'', Sayers used the legend that Helena was the daughter of King Coel -- the original "Old King Coel". She then used the rhyme in the opening act.


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* ''VideoGame/ThiefDeadlyShadows'' contains several nursery rhymes, all of them rather disturbing (and accurate foreshadowing).
* ''VideoGame/DeadSpace'' has the very very very creepy singing of ''Twinkle Twinkle Little Star'' in it.
* ''Mixed-Up Mother Goose'', a 1987 Sierra game in which the all the characters have lost their items, and you have to go through the game reuniting them.
* In ''VideoGame/FateEXTRA'', the embodiment of nursery rhyme, mostly from Literature/AliceInWonderland, is a Caster-class Servant. A representative of children's love for the genre, the Moon Cell thus recognizes the genre itself as the "Hero of Children" and makes a Servant that mirroring its Master's adoration to it. Its Matrix; descriptions of identity, skills, and Noble Phantasm, and its dialogues are written in nursery rhyme.
* [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_9IyBzbyWQ This]] trailer for the upcoming addition to the Amnesia series, ''VideoGame/AmnesiaAMachineForPigs'', features an unsettling rendition of "This Little Piggy".
* ''Videogame/{{Cursery}}'' are a series of games produced by Blue Tea Games that are a DarkerAndEdgier spin on the rhymes. "The Crooked Man" and "Humpty Dumpty" are the first ones.


[[folder: Webcomics ]]

* In ''Webcomic/{{Sinfest}}'',
** Slick [[http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=2173 compares himself to Old Mother Hubbard.]]
** Fuchsia, [[http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=3624 to the damned]].
* In ''Webcomic/{{Erstwhile}}'', [[http://www.erstwhiletales.com/maidmaleen-35/#.T2-Bydm6SuI Maid Maleen ends with peasant girls singing such a verse, inspired by her tale.]]
* In ''Webcomic/BlueYonder'', [[http://www.blueyondercomic.net/comics/1625491/blue-yonder-chapter-2-page-31/ a villain derides Jared as "Little Boy Blue".]]


[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* One episode of ComicStrip/USAcres had [[InkSuitActor Aloysius]] [[Creator/KevinMeaney Pig]] asking the cast to do some of these. Towards the end, they get back at Aloysius by making up a rhyme about him.
* The 1938 WesternAnimation/{{Silly Symphon|ies}}y short ''Mother Goose Goes Hollywood'' is a series of nursery rhymes with [[NoCelebritiesWereHarmed celebrity caricatures]] in the main roles.