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The Mulberry is a tree and not a bush, so it is significant in rhyme for its size

The rhyme of the Mulberry Bush is a fun sing-song, action-accompanied rhyme which little children begin singing in preschool. Most often mulberry is associated with silk production, but this particular mulberry bush has a different story behind it.

The rhyme involves circling an imaginary mulberry bush while performing mundane actions. Brushing teeth, combing hair, putting on clothes, and eating breakfast, are some of the things children sing about. The rhyme initially appears to be a guideline for young children on learning to get ready for school.


Mulberry berries which silkworms feed on to produce silk Image credit: wikimedia commons

Some scholars note that the significance of the mulberry bush is indeed a connotation of the silk business. This rhyme, written around the mid-nineteenth century, is probably a reference to Britain's struggle to produce silk. Mulberries grow only in a certain climate, and are native to Asian countries. While Britain was in the business of colonising the world and engaging in trade, the demand for silk must have increased since English colonies existed in parts of China. But Britain failed to grow her own silk, because mulberry is very sensitive to frost.

Another interpretation offered by those who study these rhymes, is that, this bush is a reference to bramble and not mulberry, since mulberry does not grow on a bush. It is believed that this rhyme originated in a women's prison, and was recorded with them singing of their daily routine. When it made its way to the mainstream media, it was adopted as a song for children to learn the order of properly dressing up.

Keywords: Rhyme, Mulberry, Silk, Prison, Britain


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a computer chip close up According to industry experts, the issue with smartphone makers entering the laptop category is two-fold. | Photo by Manuel on Unsplash

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