There Was a Crooked Man

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"There Was a Crooked Man"
Roud #4826
Written by Traditional
Published 1842
Written England
Language English
Form Nursery rhyme

"There Was a Crooked Man" is an English nursery rhyme. It has a Roud Folk Song Index number of 4826.

Lyrics[edit]

Original Version:

There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile.
He found a crooked sixpence upon a crooked stile.
He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse,
And they all lived together in a little crooked house.[1]

Origin[edit]

The rhyme was first recorded by James Orchard Halliwell in the 1840s and gained popularity in the early twentieth century.[2] Some say the town of Lavenham is believed to have inspired this rhyme.[3] Others maintain the poem originates from the history of King Charles I of England (1600–1649). The crooked man is reputed to be the Scottish General Sir Alexander Leslie. He signed a covenant securing religious and political freedom for Scotland. The "crooked stile" in the poem was the border between England and Scotland. "They all lived together in a little crooked house" refers to the fact that the English and Scots had at last come to an agreement, despite continuing great animosity between the two peoples, who nonetheless had to live with each other due to their common border. [4]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ I. Opie and P. Opie, The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (Oxford University Press, 1951, 2nd edn., 1997), p. 289.
  2. ^ I. Opie and P. Opie, The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (Oxford University Press, 1951, 2nd edn., 1997), p. 289.
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Alchin, Linda. 2013. "The Secret History of Nursery Rhymes, 2d ed. Surrey, UK: Neilsen. http://www.rhymes.org.uk/there_was_a-crooked_man.htm