Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater

Peter, Peter pumpkin eater,
Had a wife but couldn't keep her;
He put her in a pumpkin shell
And there he kept her well.


Peter, Peter pumpkin eater,
Had another and didn't love her;
Peter learned to read and spell,
And then he loved her very well.

Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater

The nursery rhyme Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater, is originally from England. It was published in Great Britain in the late 18th century. Then, in 1825 the verse was published in Boston, Massachusetts.

Chastity Belt

One probability of the meaning of this nursery rhyme acclaims it to a chastity belt. Peter was married to a woman who was unfaithful to him. Iron underwear was called a pumpkin shell. This clothing item that some husbands forced their wives to wear was locked. The key was kept in the husband's pocket.


Another explanation refers to murder. Peter's wife was a prostitute against her husband's wish. He killed his wife and hid the body inside a pumpkin.

Unfortunately, this is not the only nursery rhyme that, while seemingly innocent, has gruesome original meanings.