Little Miss Muffet
Sat on a tuffet,
Eating her curds and whey;
Along came a spider,
Who sat down beside her
And frightened Miss Muffet away.
It is not entirely certain what the original meaning and historical background of “Little Miss Muffet” is. It has been claimed, however, that the nursery rhyme was written by the famous 16th century British naturalist Dr. Thomas Muffet on a real life event that took place with one of his stepdaughters. Dr. Thomas Muffet is well known for having written the first English illustrated classification guide of insects. So, we can imagine how many various bugs, spiders and other insects may have crawled around his house. No wonder some of them frightened his children. Since Thomas regarded the insects completely harmless, and expected that the children should also be used to them already, the incident amused him to the extent of writing the rhyme.
Another, less likely explanation of this nursery rhyme connects it with Mary I, Queen of Scotland. She was said to be frightened by a certain religious reformer by the name of John Knox.