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Disclaimer: I'm not muscling in on JK's turf - just gambolling on it, like a spring lamb, having fun working out the literary and psychological puzzles which she is having fun setting us
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A Child's Cauldron of Verse
This selection of playground and nursery rhymes is taken from Word of Mouth in the Magical World, a compilation of British wizarding oral literature collected in the early 24th century by the renowned folklorist Ermintrude Hump. Cross-fertilisation with Muggle influences is detectable in several of the rhymes, and as with their Muggle counterparts, many of them refer - albeit in distorted form - to real historical events which have shaken our world over the past thousand years, such as the Voldemort Wars of the late 20th century, or the rising sea-level of the 22nd. In our first example, the influence has travelled the other way: Muggle scholars have long sought a mundane political explanation for a wizard's simple rhyme about a simple bewitched tree.
I had a little nut tree,
Charmed so it would bear
A shiny silver nutmeg,
And a golden pear;
The great Flamel's daughter
Came across the sea,
And all for the sake
Of my little nut tree.
Her cloak was crimson feathers,
Jet black was her hair,
She asked me for my nut tree
And my golden pear.
I said, "So fair a witch-maid
Never did I see,
I'll give you all the fruit
From my little nut tree."
A tisket, a tasket,
Fifteen in the basket,
A bird in the hand's
Worth a hundred and fifty:
If you want to catch it
You'd better fly swiftly.
There were four friends went to the west
Their fortunes for to try
And they have taken a solemn oath
As one to live or die.
They built a towering castle,
They founded houses four:
But four friends now are three and one
And now my heart is sore.
See by night the goblins come,
Banging on a kettle drum,
Gleaming teeth and glittering eyes.
Goblin soldiers all in a row,
Marching, marching to and fro -
Don't ask what meat is in their pies.
Dog, dog, howl to the moon,
Wolf down your meat without platter or spoon.
The silver would burn you;
Wolfsbane it will turn you;
A dog you shall be till the sun rises soon.
Tom and Belle went up the hill
To see what they could slaughter.
Tom fell down and lost his crown,
And Belle came tumbling after.
Hushaby, witchling, on the tree top;
When the wind blows your broomstick will rock.
When the bough breaks you'd better fly free
And down will swoop witchling, safe back to me.
Where do you wander?
Up pipes and down pipes
And in the Secret Chamber.
Ring around your finger -
Turn it three times over -
A Hallow, a Hallow,
We all rise up.
Dark knight, stark knight,
May your star be ever bright:
He who fought against the night,
Fallen in the cause of light.
Wood for my wielding,
Your fair gift yielding
Magic set free.
Sting he you must not,
Don't sting me.
Tumbledown, rumble down,
See how the witches march down to the sea;
Ships on the ocean, by power and potion,
Come sister come brother back safely to me.
Hark, hark, the dogs do bark,
The wizards have come to town:
One in a skirt with a floral shirt
And one in a lilac (frilly, pin-striped, with enormous psychedelic orange buttons) gown.
One for the neighbour who gossiped and lied;
Two for the sergeant who poked and who pried;
Three for the witch who had nowhere to hide;
Four for the straight wand which she was denied;
Five for the Question, she met it with pride;
Six for the sorrow with which the witch sighed;
Seven for the tears which she laid down and cried;
Eight for the priest, who came but to chide;
Nine for the stake to which she was tied;
Ten for the fire in which the witch died.
Now I die and rise again:
I was numbered with the slain
But now I rise.
Shadow boy snake-charming:
Undying demon in my brain
But now I drive it out again
And now it dies.
Grendel came to our town
And yellow was his hair;
He burned down all the houses,
And ate the people there.
He marched with Muggle armies,
All flesh was theirs to tear,
Till a white bee stung him
And trapped him in his lair.
This little thing has been growing sporadically for a couple of years. I haven't abandoned any of my other stories - progress is being made on them, however slowly.