Mother Goose in Prose

L. Frank Baum
Mother Goose in Prose

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Title: Mother Goose in Prose
Author: L. Frank Baum
Release Date: March, 2004 [EBook #5312] [Yes, we are more than one
year ahead of schedule] [This file was first posted on June 29, 2002]

Edition: 10
Language: English
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Mother Goose in Prose
by L. Frank Baum
Illustrated by Maxfield Parrish
New York MCMI

Contents Introduction Sing a Song o' Sixpence The Story of Little Boy
Blue Cat and the Fiddle The Black Sheep Old King Cole Mistress Mary
The Wond'rous Wise Man What Jack Horner Did The Man in the
Moon The Jolly Miller The Little Man and His Little Gun Hickory
Dickory Dock Little Bo-Peep The Story of Tommy Tucker Pussy-cat
Mew How the Beggars Came to Town Tom, the Piper's Son Humpty
Dumpty The Woman Who Lived in a Shoe Little Miss Muffet Three
Wise Men of Gotham Little Bun Rabbit
Illustrations "There was a little man and he had a little
gun"--Frontispiece Little Boy Blue The Black Sheet Old King Cole The
Wond'rous Wise Man Jack Horner The Man in the Moon Little
Bo-Peep Tommy Tucker Tom, the Piper's Son Humpty Dumpty Three
Wise Men of Gotham

None of us, whether children or adults, needs an introduction to Mother
Goose. Those things which are earliest impressed upon our minds cling
to them most tenaciously The snatches sung in the nursery are never
forgotten, nor are they ever recalled without bringing back with them
myriads of slumbering feelings and half-forgotten images.
We hear the sweet, low voice of the mother, singing soft lullabies to
her darling, and see the kindly, wrinkled face of the grandmother as she
croons the old ditties to quiet our restless spirits. One generation is
linked to another by the everlasting spirit of song; the ballads of the
nursery follow us from childhood to old age, and they are readily
brought from memory's recesses at any time to amuse our children or
our grandchildren.
The collection of jingles we know and love as the "Melodies of Mother
Goose" are evidently drawn from a variety of sources. While they are,
taken altogether, a happy union of rhyme, wit, pathos, satire and
sentiment, the research after the author of each individual verse would
indeed be hopeless. It would be folly to suppose them all the
composition of uneducated old nurses, for many of them contain much
reflection, wit and melody. It is said that Shelley wrote "Pussy-Cat
Mew," and Dean Swift "Little Bo-Peep," and these assertions are as
difficult to disprove as to prove. Some of the older verses, however, are
doubtless offshoots from ancient Folk Lore Songs, and have descended
to us through many centuries.
The connection of Mother Goose with the rhymes which bear her name
is difficult to determine, and, in fact, three countries claim her for their
own: France, England and America.
About the year 1650 there appeared in circulation in London a small
book, named "Rhymes of the Nursery; or Lulla-Byes for Children,"
which contained many of the identical pieces that have been handed
down to us; but the name of Mother Goose was evidently not then

known. In this edition were the rhymes of "Little Jack Homer," "Old
King Cole," "Mistress Mary," "Sing a Song o' Sixpence," and "Little
Boy Blue."
In 1697 Charles Perrault published in France a book of children's tales
entitled "Contes de ma Mere Oye," and this is really the first time we
find authentic record of the use of the name of Mother Goose, although
Perrault's tales differ materially from those we now know under this
title. They comprised "The Sleeping Beauty," "The Fairy," "Little Red
Riding Hood," "Blue Beard," "Puss in Boots" "Riquet with
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