One thing about revisiting nursery rhymes as an adult is that you realize how incredibly confusing some of them are.
Lets take Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary as an example. She’s looking after her garden which consists of silver bells, cockle shells and pretty maids… I’ll say she’s contrary, and probably completely bonkers.
It turns out there are a few explanations for this but I find none of them very convincing. Take a look on wikipedia to see what I mean.
Yes I can understand that silver bells could represent the church, not many establishments other than the church could afford bells. But cockle shells representing badges or infidelity? I think these experts are just clutching at straws.
In my humble uniformed opinion Mary was just some woman who was completely mad. She went to the seaside, got herself some cockleshells and planted them in her garden. Then Fred at the local pub asked. “Have you seen what Mary’s been up to? She’s only gone and planted cockle shells in her garden again” To which Bob replied. “Blimey she’s a contrary one, what will it be next, silver bells?” To which Fred answered “I’m going to send my daughters over there to check in on her.” The rest is music.