Ring a Ring o’ Roses

My previous post about “A-Tisket, A-Tasket” got me thinking about this scene from The Goonies (1985). The key part of the clip starts at about 1:08:

Francis Fratelli: Get the rope here. Slothy, Slothy, jump rope Slothy.

Jake Fratelli: What do you mean jump rope?

Francis Fratelli, Jake Fratelli: Jump rope! Jump rope.


Francis Fratelli, Jake Fratelli: Ring around the rosie, pocket full of posies…

The same children’s rhyme also shows up (sans song) in The Wizard of Oz (1939) (at about 1:47 in this clip): “Ring around the rosie, a pocket full of spears!”

Like “A-Tisket, A-Tasket”, if you grew up in the English-speaking world, you are probably familiar with “Ring Around the Rosie”. The version I learned goes:

Ring around the rosie,
Pocket full of posies,
Ashes, ashes,
We all fall down.

…followed by everyone in the room falling on their rumps. (That was hi-lairious to me at a certain young age.)

I remember watching an episode of “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” (with Jack Palance!) sometime in the mid-1980’s, and learning that this seemingly innocent children’s rhyme was apparently some sort of code for the horrors of the bubonic plague. “Rosie” referred to the boils, the posies referred to flowers placed on coffins, falling down referred to death… you know, just exactly the dark, fascinating stuff that sticks in a nerdy kid’s mind.

I remember that episode after all these years.

Too bad it’s bullshit.

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