Bedtime Stories

Old Nursery Rhymes for young & old

Hey Diddle Diddle

Hey Diddle Diddle,
The cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the moon.
The little dog laughed,
To see such fun,
And the dish ran away with the spoon.


This old nursery rhyme is the source of the English expression 'over the moon' meaning to be extremely happy.

There are numerous theories about the meaning of the rhyme. All of them unproven and most scholarly commentators state that the verse is probably meant to be simply nonsense.

Yet, as a cat and a fiddle was a popular image in medieval illuminated manuscripts we - here at Book of Tales - like to interpret the rhyme as follows.

The cat is a symbol for the solitaire, wandering musician.
The cow, sturdy built, providing milk and meat, is the cook.
The dog, often used as a symbol for loyalty and companionship, stands for cook's companions. Everybody is enjoying the music and having fun. Cook is hopping and frolicking yet forgetting dinner. So, that evening's dish gets away.

The one thing this explanation has over all the others is that it is in line with the meaning of the expression 'being over the moon'.

More Bedtime Stories & Nursery Rhymes  >>

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© Brigitte Franssen 2018
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