Sunday, January 16, 2022

Cumulative story number 1

Here is a cumulative nursery rhyme that was first published in 1755 in London, England, but the story is thought to be much older. I have known it for about 75 years now (I am 80 for those of you who are wondering). It made me smile when I was a child and it makes me smile now.

You are hereby commissioned and entrusted with the task of providing your own mental pictures to accompany the story as it unfolds.

"This Is The House That Jack Built"

This is the house that Jack built.

This is the cheese that lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the rat that ate the cheese
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the cat that chased the rat
That ate the cheese that lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the dog that worried the cat
That chased the rat that ate the cheese
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the cow with the crumpled horn
That tossed the dog that worried the cat
That chased the rat that ate the cheese
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the maiden all forlorn
That milked the cow with the crumpled horn
That tossed the dog that worried the cat
That chased the rat that ate the cheese
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the man all tattered and torn
That kissed the maiden all forlorn
That milked the cow with the crumpled horn
That tossed the dog that worried the cat
That chased the rat that ate the cheese
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the judge all shaven and shorn
That married the man all tattered and torn
That kissed the maiden all forlorn
That milked the cow with the crumpled horn
That tossed the dog that worried the cat
That chased the rat that ate the cheese
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the rooster that crowed in the morn
That woke the judge all shaven and shorn
That married the man all tattered and torn
That kissed the maiden all forlorn
That milked the cow with the crumpled horn
That tossed the dog that worried the cat
That chased the rat that ate the cheese
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the farmer sowing his corn
That kept the rooster that crowed in the morn
That woke the judge all shaven and shorn
That married the man all tattered and torn
That kissed the maiden all forlorn
That milked the cow with the crumpled horn
That tossed the dog that worried the cat
That chased the rat that ate the cheese
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the horse and the hound and the horn
That belonged to the farmer sowing his corn
That kept the rooster that crowed in the morn
That woke the judge all shaven and shorn
That married the man all tattered and torn
That kissed the maiden all forlorn
That milked the cow with the crumpled horn
That tossed the dog that worried the cat
That chased the rat that ate the cheese
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This has always been the end of the story, but on this very cold January day in the Year of Our Lord 2022 your correspondent composed yet another stanza:

This is the reader tired and worn
That read of the horse and the hound and the horn
That belonged to the farmer sowing his corn
That kept the rooster that crowed in the morn
That woke the judge all shaven and shorn
That married the man all tattered and torn
That kissed the maiden all forlorn
That milked the cow with the crumpled horn
That tossed the dog that worried the cat
That chased the rat that ate the cheese
That lay in the house that Jack built.

Few things are more satisfting than tampering with a classic, unless it's picturing you picturing yourself.

If you are very good, another cumulative story will be along shortly.

4 comments:

  1. In all honesty I could not recall every stanza of that and, indeed, they do not all sound familiar so there may have been slight variations.

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    Replies
    1. Graham the old stone probably gathered some moss as it rolled along.

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  2. Your cumulative stories reminded me of the story of Epaminondas and His Auntie. It's not a cumulative story but the repetition is similar.

    I remember my grandfather telling the story and me loving to hear it. These days I read it as rascist but back then I took away the idea that instructions need to be specific to the situation.

    Did I (the reader) become tired and worn from reading the story or am I generally tired and worn? We need to know

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    Replies
    1. kylie, I hadn't thought of Epamanondas in a very long time. There was also Little Black Sambo and Black Mumbo and Black Jumbo, and they were all from India, not African at all, but still excoriated as racist.I miss those purple shoes with crimson soles and crimson linings.

      I think the reader (you) became tired and worn from reading the very long cumulative story, but it is certainly possible that he/she/you was/were already tired and worn just from the vagaries and vicissitudes of daily living. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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