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London Bridge is falling down

der_kluge

Adventurer
My wife and I are having this odd discussion. It seems that her version of "London Bridges Falling Down" differs from mine. Well, the refrain at least.

When she sang it, I was like "What the...!?"

Her version:

"London Bridges falling down, falling down, falling down.
London Bridges falling down, my fair lady.

Shake them up with salt and pepper, salt and pepper, salt and pepper.
Shake them up with salt and pepper, my fair lady."

This was apparently the version of the song she had learned in school.

It took me a while to recollect the version I learned, but I did, and shared this with her:

"London Bridges falling down, falling down, falling down.
London Bridges falling down, my fair lady.

Take the key and lock them, lock them up, lock them up
Take the key and lock them up, my fair lady."

She thought that my version was mean. I told her that her version was weird.

This was a month ago. She asked her friends. One grew up in Louisiana, and another grew up in Kansas City. My wife grew up in Missouri. They all had learned the "salt and pepper" version. A version I was wholly unfamiliar with.

So, I google'd it. The version that seems canon has nothing to do with locking people up, or salt and pepper, but building the bridge with iron bars, and silver and gold, though I did find one that mentioned locking up prisoners. After some searching I did find a version which had my refrain in it. Still nothing on salt and pepper.

Still, it seems odd that three people who grew up in different areas would all learn the same, seemingly bizarre version of this song.

What version did you learn as a child?
 
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Mark

CreativeMountainGames.com
"London Bridge *is*..." isn't it?

http://www.zelo.com/family/nursery/london.asp

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Bridge_is_falling_down

Meaning
The meaning of the rhyme is obscure. Most obviously, it relates to the many difficulties experienced in bridging the River Thames: London's earlier bridges did indeed "wash away" before a bridge built of "stone so strong" was constructed. It has been suggested that the "fair lady" who is "locked up" is a reference to an old practice of burying a dead virgin in the foundations of the bridge to ensure its strength through magical means, although the better view is that this refers to Queen Eleanor. Intriguingly, the rhyme is not confined to England and variants exist in many other western and central European countries.
 
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AIM-54

First Post
I learned the "take the key" version and have to admit I've never heard of the "salt and pepper" version. I'm not totally sure where I picked it up as I lived in LA, TN and FL during my formative years.

Also, I believe Mark is correct, in that it is "London Bridge is..." :)
 





jgbrowning

Explorer
One of my friends (an Athro Phd) did her undergrad thesis on the transmission of childhood knowledge as a form of oral learning. She said that there were many different versions of the kid songs depending upon locale and that some of them were similiar even when separated by great distances.

It was interesting to hear her talk about it. It really is a separate area of oral learning that functions almost entirely independent of adult influence. The older kids often teach the younger kids and it just keeps getting passed on and on.

joe b.
 

Crothian

First Post
jgbrowning said:
It was interesting to hear her talk about it. It really is a separate area of oral learning that functions almost entirely independent of adult influence. The older kids often teach the younger kids and it just keeps getting passed on and on.

joe b.

Do I smell a book coming?? :D
 

Torm

First Post
I went to school in SW Missouri, Rockford IL, Joliet IL, and Hartsville SC, where it came up (I went to quite a few other schools, too - moved 22 times in my first 15 years) and in all the schools I attended places it was "take the key."

I seem to remember seeing the complete lyrics to that song in a book at some point, though, and I'm thinking maybe these are different verses?
 

Barendd Nobeard

First Post
We played it as a game, so I don't know where this crazy "salt & pepper" stuff comes from. :)

The "take the key and lock her up" version made sense, since the game involved trapping people in the bridge. (Sort of the opposite of 'musical chairs' but without the chairs). I also remember other verses: "build it up with iron bars" and "iron bars will bend and break" and "build it up with silver and gold" - in my childhood, extra verses were just an excuse to keep playing the game a bit longer.
 

jgbrowning

Explorer
Crothian said:
Do I smell a book coming?? :D


Heh. :) I have a stack of reading next to me. It's all about cities. So, nothing on the horizion about oral traditions, but lots of stuff about cities. I need more brains.

joe b.
 

Angel Tarragon

Dawn Dragon
I went to elementary school in four states: El Paso Texas, Albuquerque New Mexico, Poway (San Diego) California and in Scottsdale, AZ. In all four places the kids sung the lock her up version.
 

jgbrowning

Explorer
Frukathka said:
I went to elementary school in four states: El Paso Texas, Albuquerque New Mexico, Poway (San Diego) California and in Scottsdale, AZ. In all four places the kids sung the lock her up version.

Which one do you sing?

Big green gobs of greasy grimey gopher guts,
1. Mutilated (2. munched up ) monkey 1. meat (2. feet),
1. Little dirty birdie feet, 2. Chopped up little piggie feet, 3. Chopped up baby parakeet


joe b.
 


AIM-54

First Post
jgbrowning said:
Which one do you sing?

Big green gobs of greasy grimey gopher guts,
1. Mutilated (2. munched up ) monkey 1. meat (2. feet),
1. Little dirty birdie feet, 2. Chopped up little piggie feet, 3. Chopped up baby parakeet


joe b.


Great green gobs of greasy grimy gopher guts, mutilated monky meat, little dirty birdy feet.

But I learned that one in Canada. :p
 


Maerdwyn

First Post
"Great green gobs of greasy grimy gopher guts, mutilated monkey meat, squirrels, picked up off the street" (Central Massachusetts)
 
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Krieg

First Post
London Bridge is...

Take the key and lock them up...

Mutilated monkey meat...

Little dirty birdies feet

Born & raised in Ohio.
 

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