It seems to be a running theme in most countries that the Nursery Rhymes we tell our children must be insanely dark and disturbing in subject, while still be told with a playful cheerfulness that discreetly hides the twisted context within. Whether it’s chopping off the tails of blind mice with carving knives, babies falling from trees during a storm, children getting the plague and dying despite their best efforts to ward it off with flowers in their pockets, or dishes having affairs with spoons…Perhaps not so much the last one, but regardless, we often overlook the subject matter in favor of the saccharine coated exterior of the rhyme.
What is the purpose of this dichotomy of hiding such horror within the playful rhymes we teach our children? Is it to instill the true nature of world within our kids, only to be uncovered when they are old enough to understand and realize it’s been that way all along, only they were too naive to fully understand?
But one Artist/Comedian Ben Rosenfeld, has taken traditional Russian Nursery Rhymes and translated them into English with accompanying artwork. As you read the translated Nursery Rhymes and gaze upon the colorful illustrations, remember that yes, these are ACTUALLY told to children in Russia. But really, are they any worse than any of the ones you have gotten used to?