Monday, 9 September 2013

Little Jack Horner

Origins of Old Nursery Rhymes. No.1. Little Jack Horner

The story of Little Jack Horner which dates back to the time of Henry VIII, and the dissolution of the monasteries, is particularly interesting. Jack was steward to the Abbot of Glastonbury, and the kitchen attached to that monastery was built of such solid material that Henry could not burn it down. He became very angry, and in order to appease his wrath Jack Horner was sent to the Court with a pie which had an extremely tempting looking crust. Beneath this crust the Abbot had concealed the title-deeds of twelve monasteries which he was offering as a present to the King. Jack, however, was not the trusty servant his master thought him to be, and on his way to the Court he slyly abstracted the title-deeds of the Manor of Wells. Henry did not detect the theft and, on his return to Glastonbury, Jack Horner informed the Abbot that the deeds had been presented to him by the King. They are referred to in the rhyme as a "plum."

He put in his thumb,
And pulled out a plum,
And said, "What a good boy am I!"