Were Jack and Jill brother sister, or husband wife? How many of you are aware that there is more than one stanza of the famous Jack and Jill rhyme. Find out the various interpretations and stories behind the rhyme.
Yesterday my daughter and I were singing Jack and Jill while strolling in the park. I heard a voice from the back saying, “it does not end with Jill came tumbling after … you have missed the second stanza.” I kind of got into an argument with the lady as I was only aware of only 1.
On reaching back home, I switched on my laptop and goggled for Jack and Jill. To my surprise it had not 2 but 3 stanzas. I felt sheepish and embarrassed for getting into an argument with the lady at the park.
Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water
Jack fell down and broke his crown,
And Jill came tumbling after
Up Jack got and home did trot,
As fast as he could caper;
To old Dame Dob, who patched his Nob
With vinegar and brown paper
(And went to bed and bound his head,
With vinegar and brown paper)- Later versions
Then Jill came in, and she did grin,
To see Jack’s paper plaster;
Her mother whipt her, across her knee,
For laughing at Jack’s disaster
(Mother vexed did whip her next,
For causing Jack’s disaster)- Later versions
The first verse is the most common and everyone is familiar with it. In the 19th century chapbook, there are fifteen stanzas for the same. Basically, this rhyme is a quatrain with abcb rhyming. There are a lot of interpretations and origins for this rhyme/poem.
An Old Norse myth also has some relation with the rhyme. The myth has a brother and sister Hjúki and Bil, who were captured by Mani (moon god) and taken to moon, while fetching a pail of water from a well. Their names were actually Hjuki (pronounced “juk-ee”) and Bil, which became Jack and Jill. Also, as per the Scandinavian verb Juk-ee means to increase and Bila means to dissolve… thus explaining the waxing and waning of moon.
Some also refer Jack and Jill to King Louis XVI – Jack -who was beheaded (lost his crown) followed by his Queen Marie Antoinette – Jill – (who came tumbling after).
During King Charles I, reign volume of half pint measures (referred to as Jack then) were reduced. This was done as the parliament refused to increase the tax as proposed by King Charles. Thus, in order to overcome his failure he ordered to reduce the volume of the pint. The pint had a crown symbol on it and by reducing the volume Charles got more taxes without raising them, and half -pint Jack, broke its ‘crown’. This reduction also affected the quarter pint aka Gill, as that was also reduced, thus came tumbling after.
Another story is that in a small village of Kilmersdon, a local unmarried woman got pregnant, whose name was Jill. Jack, the father was hit by a rock and died and Jill died post childbirth.
Also, the phrase Jack and Jill has been used by Shakespeare in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Jack shall have Jill; Nought shall go ill), The Taming of the Shrew (Be the Jacks fair within, the Jill’s fair without, the carpets laid, and everything in order?) and Love’s Labour’s Lost (Our wooing doth not end like an old play; Jack hath not Jill).
These are just the various interpretations of the famous rhyme which is sung by many children all over the world.
Let me know if you knew the origin of this rhyme?
Though I did not find all the stanzas … you can enjoy the first 2 stanzas of the rhyme: