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Wednesday 13 July 2016

The Prisoner – It’s Childs Play III!

    And so to ‘The Girl Who Was Death,’ itself is a Child’s fairy tale in which Mister X takes on the 210 pounds Polish giant “Killer” Kaminski. The boxing match gets underway, and in a clinch “the Killer” says to Mister X {in an Irish accent} “Ah take it easy sir will ya, me’ face is me’ fortune, you might knock it back into shape!”

   I know what you are thinking, what has this to do with nursery rhymes? Well on the face of it nothing, however the phrase “My face is my fortune,” comes from the nursery rhyme “Where Are You Going To My Pretty Maid?”

    “Where are you going my pretty maid?”          
     “I’m going a-milking sir” she said.
    “May I go with you, my pretty maid?”
     “You’re kindly welcome sir” she said.
    “What is your father, my pretty maid?”
     “My father’s a farmer, sir,” she said.
    “Say, will you marry me, my pretty maid?”
     “Yes, if you please kind sir,” she said.
    “What is your fortune, my pretty maid?”
     “My face is my fortune, sir” she said.
    “Then I can’t marry you, my pretty maid!”
     “Nobody asked you sir,” she said.

    The origin of this old English lyrical nursery rhyme appears to be lost. Lengthy research has failed to come up with any meaning behind it or its origin. I have included it within this series for the simple reason of the line given by “Killer” Kaminski “Ah take it easy sir will ya, me’ face is me’ fortune, you might knock it back into shape!” Whether or not this is a veiled reference to the nursery rhyme is unknown, but I find it a compelling connection.
  Staying with ‘The Girl Who Was Death’ in the derelict village of Wychwood {spelt Witchwood in the episode} there are three shops, the Butcher, the Baker and Candlestick maker, the veiled connection in this case being the old English nursery rhyme “Rub a dub dub.”

“Rub A dub dub.
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,
T’ws enough to make a fish stare.”

A variant or alternative of this nursery rhyme is;
    “Rub a dub dub.
Three men in a tub.
And who do you think they be?
The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick-maker,
They all jumped out of a rotten potato,
Turn ‘em out, knaves all three.”

   This nursery rhyme was first published towards the end of the 18th century.
    Sources suggest that this seemingly innocent nursery rhyme refers to a Medieval peep show! A sideshow attraction at local fairs used to be three maids in a tub who were presumably unclothed and were featured in an early version of this rhyme made fun out of the men who enjoyed visiting them!
The other alternative version is as follows;
“Hey rub-a-dub,
Three maids in a tub,
And who do you think was there?
The Butcher, the baker, the candle stick maker;
All of them gone to the fair.”

    Hickory, Dickory Dock’ appears in instrumental form of the nursery rhyme during the episode ‘The Girl Who Was Death’. It is a nonsense poem using alliteration and allowing children to mimic the sound of a clock chiming at the relevant point in the song. Hickory, dickory dock is intended to introduce children to the fundamentals of telling time. Hickory, dickory dock is also known by another title ‘Hickory, dickory doc’ inevitable perhaps due to the nonsensical nature of the words hickory, dickory dock!
     The first publication date for the poem or rhyme ‘Hickory, dickory dock’ is 1744. Investigation into the origins of ‘hickory’ leads to believe that it’s basis lies in America, Hickory is derived from the North American word for ‘Pawcohiccora’- a kind of milk or oily liquor from pounded hickory nuts. ‘Pohickery’ is named in a list of Virginia trees, in 1653, and this was finally shortened to ‘Hickory.’
    While the origins of  ‘Dock’ is a species of plant which has a Latin name of ‘Rumex Crispus’ of which are all well known weeds which have a long tap root and are difficult to exterminate. Other species can be used medicinally as an astringent and tonic, many of us would have experienced the healing properties of the Dock leaf after being stung by a stinging nettle.

   Nursery rhymes are fascinating don’t you think, and perhaps not so much Childs play as first suspected. Of course there is no evidence for my having connected either “Killer” Kaminiski’s line “Me” face is my fortune,” or for that matter the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker to the above nursery rhymes, but it is nonetheless, an agreeable coincidence.

   This short series concludes next time, and as they say, once upon a time…………….

Be seeing you

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