Jack and Jill — The Case for Stricter Child Labor Laws

Mother Goose loves children! I love them so much that I have seven of my very own! I do my best to care for them, protect them from accidents, teach them right from wrong, guide them along life’s pathways, and eventually launch them successfully into the world. But I’m very concerned about the children in my story today, Jack and Jill.

Just gotta love Banksy...

Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down and broke his crown,
And Jill came tumbling after.
Up Jack got, and home did trot,
As fast as he could caper,
To old Dame Dob, who patched his nob
With vinegar and brown paper

Here they are, poor dears, having to climb that big hill to get a pail of water for their mother. She’s home, of course, lazily watching the Family Feud on the TV, and wants to soak her feet in some epsom salts while she relaxes. Probably she’s stuffing Cheetos in her mouth as fast as she possibly can…

And the children, the dear sweet children… They were working on their homework for school, trying desperately to get good grades so that they could earn scholarships for college and escape this life of drudgery. This selfish fishwife of a mother interrupted their studies and sent them miles up the hill just for her own comfort and pleasure. Oh, the heart of Mother Goose cries out for the injustice of this cruel request. Let the children be! Oh why can’t she just let them be…

Obedient and dutiful, they carry that bucket all the way up the hill, fill it up and start back down the hill. Of course, it’s much too heavy for them — they are mere children, for heaven’s sake. Poor brave Jack, he falls. He suffers a severe concussion and is knocked unconscious. Off balanced by Jack’s fall, Jill also tumbles down the hill. Though we do not know the extent of her injuries, certainly we can assume that she’s possibly broken her leg. That actually happened to Mother Goose when she was ten years old so I am quite sure the same thing happened to dear Jill.

Jack was able to pull himself to his feet and drag himself home. The bit of prose says that he trotted, but we shouldn’t believe everything we read now, should we? And does Jack tell his mother about the accident? Oh no, she would certainly be irritated and annoyed that he would interrupt her television viewing. He goes instead to Dame Dob who I’m assuming is the local representative for child protection services. Dame Dob has the perfect first aid for Jack’s head — she’s seen this sort of accident much too frequently. She gets out the vinegar and brown paper and applies it to the horribly disfiguring goose egg on Jack’s skull.

Dame Dob decides to get some professional medical attention for poor Jill who is still laying at the bottom of the hill. Together she and Jack hoist Jill into Dame Dob’s ambulance and they speed off to the hospital where Jill’s leg is xrayed and casted. Dame Dob has some vinegar and brown paper left over from Jack’s treatment so she applies some to Jill’s head as well. And then she begins the task of finding new homes for these children. They will go to a loving family who will care for their emotional and physical pain until they are fully restored and can continue their studies in math and science.

And the mother of these poor, heavily tasked children will have to go up the hill for her own water from now on. Hmmmph. Honk honk.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Dianna
    Dec 03, 2011 @ 15:08:34

    Mother Goose, your last few words left me chuckling! Thanks for yet another Nursery Rhyme interpretation!


  2. yearstricken
    Dec 04, 2011 @ 16:18:03

    So much fun to read.


  3. ElizOF
    Jan 16, 2012 @ 03:51:06

    Oh I have the memories and scares to show for all the scrapes and falls I had. 🙂


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