Little Tommy Tittlemouse

Little Tommy Tittlemouse
Lived in a little house;
He caught fishes
In other men's ditches.

Little Tommy Tittlemouse

Origin

This nursery rhyme is said to have originated sometime in 17th century England. In a village in Northamptonshire, not far from Northampton, once lived a blacksmith named Thomas. Thomas’ main line of work was at the local post station, where he shoed horses and repaired carriages.

Once in winter, when the spouse of the Earl of Nottingham was on her way to London, a wheel broke under her carriage. It was already nearly dark, and the weather was freezing. Fortunately, they were just a mile and a half from Thomas’ forge, and the coachman knew about the place. So he went on foot to the forge, and they were back in less than half an hour.

Thomas took the broken wheel to repair it in his shop. The horses were unharnessed and also taken to the blacksmith’s house for the night.

Now, normally the Countess of Nottingham would have spent the night in the guesthouse of the post station. However, when she heard that a disease was spreading in the village and several people had died, she decided not to go there and stay in the blacksmith’s forge instead.

Nobody knows anymore if something happened between Countess of Nottingham and Thomas or not, but the next day village people started to talk.

Children’s play

In 1910, Beatrix Potter wrote an extremely popular children’s story, ‘The Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse.’ Other than using the name of the main character, it bears no resemblance to the original story that you can read here.

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