Special Sub-Topic: Nursery Rhyme Heteronyms
|Poor Jack and Jill had a hard life. Not only did they have to climb a considerable distance to get water each day, but on one unfortunate journey, Jack actually fell and sustained a head INJURY. The resourceful fellow ROLLED a dressing of vinegar and brown paper around his crown and took himself to bed.|
wound. An injury is a wound. Something which has been rolled or coiled has been wound.
At last report, the New England Journal of Medicine was reviewing an article on the efficacy of acetic acid and cellulose pulp products, following Jack's remarkable, if slightly improbable recovery.
Jack and Jill
Went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down
And broke his crown
And Jill came tumbling after.
Up Jack got
And home did trot
As fast as he could caper
Went to bed
To mend his head
With vinegar and brown paper.
|On my travels to St. Ives I met a man who seemed distracted by the SUM TOTAL of people and animals in his retinue. Much as I would have liked to stay and chat, my behind was becoming MORE ANAESTHETISED from the long journey on horseback, so I merely waved as I passed.|
number. A sum total is a number. Becoming more anaesthetised is becoming number.
Several newspaper articles were devoted to the travels of this much married individual but contrary to popular belief, the inns and hostels of St. Ives were not stretched beyond capacity.
As I was going to St. Ives,
I met a man with seven wives.
Each wife had seven sacks,
Each sack had seven cats,
Each cat had seven kits.
Kits, cats, sacks, and wives,
How many were going to St. Ives?
|According to nursery folklore, a VERY TINY mouse ran up the clock. The clock struck one but the mouse did not depart immediately. He waited approximately 60 SECONDS before scooting down again and disappearing into a hole beneath the chest of drawers.|
minute. Something that is very tiny is minute. A minute is 60 seconds.
News reports differ on the fate of the mouse. Some say he was traumatised for life. Others report he emigrated to America, made his home in a hickory tree and set up a medical practice.
Hickory, dickory, dock,
The mouse ran up the clock.
The clock struck one,
The mouse ran down!
Hickory, dickory, dock.
|Ever the socialite, Miss Muffet was delighted to be invited to the annual Black and White SMORGASBORD. She had just seated herself on a rather fetching tuffet with her gourmet serving when a nasty spider descended from the balcony and proceeded to BATTER her mercilessly.|
buffet. A smorgasbord is a buffet. To batter is to buffet.
The social pages had a field day. Miss Muffet fled the gala dinner before so much as taking even a bite of food, and the spider was arrested for assault. The poor lady later confessed that it would be a very long time before she could be persuaded to eat the chef inspired curds and whey dish again.
Little Miss Muffet, sat on a tuffet,
Eating her curds and whey;
Along came a spider,
Who sat down beside her
And frightened Miss Muffet away.
|The preparations for Pussycat to visit Buckingham Palace were complete. He had a TIED RIBBON in the deepest red around his neck, and he had been practising his CURTSY for hours.|
bow. A tied ribbon is a bow. A curtsy is a bow.
The court circulars for Tuesday reported a minor disturbance during the Queen's Birthday Honours ceremony. A small rodent was disturbed by one of the recipients waiting in line. Court officials removed the mouse and order was restored.
Pussycat, pussycat, where have you been?
I've been to London to visit the Queen.
Pussycat, pussycat, what did you there?
I frightened a little mouse under her chair.
|Miss Polly Flinders was in trouble. She had sat herself too close to the fire and somehow managed to RIP her dress. She knew what her mother's reaction would be and A CLEAR DROP OF SALT WATER rolled down her cheek.|
tear. A rip is a tear. A clear drop of salt water rolling down a cheek is a tear.
Having been a recent attendee at a lecture on effective parenting, all reports indicate that Mrs Flinders and Polly simply discussed the consequences of her actions. Between them it was decided that Polly should learn to sew so that she could repair her own dress. She also agreed to warm her pretty little toes with a hot water bottle in future.
Little Polly Flinders
Sat among the cinders,
Warming her pretty little toes.
Her mother came and caught her,
And whipped her little daughter
For spoiling her nice new clothes.
|The babysitter was indeed in trouble. She had left the cradle in the tree top where it was slowly rocking in a GENTLE BREEZE, to answer her cell phone. The branch holding the cradle broke and the baby was now crying its lungs out. She had to secure the cradle to a much lower, thicker branch, and TWIST AND TWINE the ropes tight to make sure the cradle was secure.|
wind. A gentle breeze is wind. To twist and twine is to wind.
Back to her phone call after the baby was secured and calmed down, the young lady was heard to say that it was like totally not her fault and that the stupid parents like should have known better than to, you know, leave a baby up that high. So stupid. Heaps stupid really.
Rock-a-bye baby in the tree top
When the wind blows the cradle will rock
When the bough breaks the cradle will fall
And down will come baby, cradle and all.
|The annual regatta was underway. The butcher, the baker and the candlestick-maker had entered the novelty event. They had decided their vessel was to be a tub, but couldn't agree on which of them should PADDLE. So heated was the discussion that AN ALTERCATION erupted on the river bank before the race even started.|
row. To paddle is to row. An altercation is a row.
Photos of the ruckus appeared in the local paper the next morning. The men completed the race in sullen silence, coming stone motherless last with the candlestick maker paddling in wide aimless circles. A peculiar smell of rotten potatoes was also reported wafting from the tub.
Three men in a tub,
And how do you think they got there?
The butcher, the baker, the candlestick-maker --
They all jumped out of a rotten potato!
|Class clown Mary was in trouble. The teacher was unimpressed with her ability to PHYSICALLY GUIDE her lamb to school. It didn't matter one whit that all the children were highly amused. Mary had broken the rules and now she was hunched in the corner writing one hundred lines with her GRAPHITE pencil.|
lead. To physically guide is to lead. A graphite pencil is also called a lead pencil.
The school paper reported that the lamb had been a huge hit with all the students. It was still waiting patiently for Mary when she emerged later that afternoon and followed her home again. When asked for a comment, Mary's teacher admitted she felt the 100 lines were perhaps a little harsh as she was fully cognisant of the very strong bond between the two.
Mary had a little lamb,
little lamb, little lamb,
Mary had a little lamb, its fleece was white as snow.
And everywhere that Mary went,
Mary went, Mary went,
and everywhere that Mary went, the lamb was sure to go.
It followed her to school one day
school one day, school one day,
It followed her to school one day,
which was against the rules.
It made the children laugh and play,
laugh and play, laugh and play,
it made the children laugh and play
to see a lamb at school.
|Yankee Doodle was in trouble. He had intended to ride into town on his pony, which had been entirely unimpressed with the plan and bolted. He sat by the side of the road and SULKED. Help was at hand. A young lady on a MOTOR SCOOTER offered him a ride. Not quite the entrance he had planned but still...|
moped. Sulked also means moped. A small motor scooter is a moped.
Mr Yankee Doodle was noted as having attended the local derby as an observer only. His plans to race his pony having been thwarted, he turned his attention to competing in Fashions in the Field. His feathered hat - which he had curiously named "macaroni" for reasons best known only to himself - was a clear winner.
Yankee Doodle came to town,
A-ridin' on a pony;
He stuck a feather in his hat
And called it macaroni.
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