There was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.
She had so many children, she didn't know what to do;
She gave them some broth without any bread;
Then whipped them all soundly and put them to bed.

there was an old woman who lived in a shoe

Allegory of England

This nursery rhyme, which dates back to the eighteenth-century England, allegedly refers to the English Parliament—who is the old woman. The shoe is England itself. If you look at the map of the island of Great Britain and turn it 90 degrees clockwise, you can see very clearly that the island resembles an old-fashioned shoe. The many children mentioned in the rhyme were the colonies England already in the eighteenth century around the entire world had, and the way they were treated.

Queen Caroline

Another interpretation says this rhyme speaks about queen Caroline, the wife of King George II (1683-1760), who had eight children.

George III

Yet another interpretation speaks about King George III of England (1738-1820). George III in his later years suffered a mental illness and is now sometimes remembered as “The Mad King” (or “The King Who Lost America”). This is why he could have been named “an old woman”. The children in the rhyme represent Parliament members and the bed is the Houses of Parliament.

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