Happy Birthday, Charles Perrault

January 13,1628 Charles Perrault, French author and fairy tale writer (Tales of Mother Goose), born in Paris, France (d. 1703).

I grew up with Mother Goose stories, and only when I was a teenager did I come to know that they were a form of social satire– which, of course, made me love them all over again. It’s recently come to my attention that today’s young ones are not hearing those stories, and that makes me very sad. The little ditties and rhymes form a really strong foundation for a love of language and poetry later, and without hearing those stories, there is a great big hole left. One that, it seems, pop music seems to be filling– and that is not going to help a whole lot. I can’t imaging writing a sestina without the repetition and rhyme and narrative structure of fairy tales and metrical poems of my childhood.

One that came to mind lately, that I had to look up because I’d forgotten a few words, was the one about the fine lady on the fine horse at Banbury Cross..

“With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes,

She shall have music where-ever she goes.”

Turns out, there’s a statue in Banbury, placed there to commemorate the marriage of Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter in 1859, and there’s a whole discussion about the rhyme on the official Banbury website. It’s really quite interesting!

Keep well,


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