Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter


×
wikimedia commons

Popular illustration of the rhyme

Among the rhymes with a dark side, The Old Woman in a Shoe is rather hilarious to imagine. It is often illustrated with an old woman who has children pouring out of a large, old shoe, while she sits at what appears to be the entrance, holding a large bowl of broth. She has a typical aquiline nose, a hunched back, and flowing skirts that envelop at least two children.



A porcelain imitation of the Old Woman in a Shoe Image credit: Wikimedia commons


At first, one assumes that the woman is running an orphanage, because she has children spilling out of the house. But a rather careful observation shows that, unlike orphanage children, these little ones are excited, bubbly, and happy. Corresponding to the original rhyme, this explanation is plausible, because the children are sent to bed with bread and broth. However, later versions include the old lady kissing the children before sending them to bed, which is quite contrary to the nature of an orphanage.

Archaeologists have uncovered evidence of an age-old practice relating to children. When women got married in certain districts of England, a shoe would be cast after the bride while she leaves on her honeymoon. This is to symbolize fertility and bless the woman with many children. In old England, health conditions were very poor, and families often consisted of many children to ensure that at least some of them survived.

A lifesize display of the shoe-house at Benson's Park, Hudson, New Hampshire Image source: wikimedia commons


Another practice they discovered was of an infertile woman wearing another woman's shoes, preferably a woman who has children, so as to bear children herself. It was a practice of superstition, allowing children to be passed down as a blessing through the wearing of shoes. So, when the rhyme describes a woman living in a shoe, it only seems natural that her house is teeming with children because she is extremely fertile. A record was found of a Russian woman who bore sixty-nine children in her lifetime, and perhaps this rhyme is an allusion to her.

Keywords: Rhyme, Old Woman, Fertility, Superstition, Children


Popular

Photo by Rachit Tank on Unsplash

Facebook-owned WhatsApp has finally started rolling out end-to-end encrypted chat backups for iOS and Android users globally.

Facebook-owned WhatsApp has finally started rolling out end-to-end encrypted chat backups for iOS and Android users globally. With the new update, if a user chooses to back up his chat history with end-to-end encryption, it will be accessible only to him, and no one will be able to unlock the backup. Neither WhatsApp nor the backup service provider will be able to access their end-to-end encryption backup.
"With end-to-end encrypted backups, no other messaging service at WhatsApp's scale will provide this level of security for people's messages -- from sending and transit, to receiving and storing in the cloud," the company said in a post. The feature will be rolling out "slowly" for people on the latest version of the app.

black iphone 7 plus on persons hand he feature will be rolling out "slowly" for people on the latest version of the app. | Photo by AARN GIRI on Unsplash

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Keyur Zaveri, VP of Design at Furlenco shares some ideas that could give your home a rich look.

A luxurious house makeover might seem to be an expensive and overwhelming task but it doesn't necessarily have to drill holes in your pocket. A few small changes and the right decor pieces can make a huge difference to the way your home looks. Keyur Zaveri, VP of Design at Furlenco shares some ideas that could give your home a rich look.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication
While it may feel intuitive to keep adding expensive decor to your home to give it the luxurious touch, in today's ageless is really more. Simplifying your space can give your home a classy look. Invest in a few accent decor pieces - a lamp, wall art, decor for a centre table that are cohesive and work well together in the theme of your room as opposed to having numerous things that do not look like they belong together. Resist the temptation to buy over-the-top accessories and unnecessary furniture, which make your home look bulky.

white desk lamp beside green plant Resist the temptation to buy over-the-top accessories and unnecessary furniture, which make your home look bulky. | Photo by Samantha Gades on Unsplash

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Daniel Romero on Unsplash

India may not see a billion smartphone users even by the end of this decade

India may not see a billion smartphone users even by the end of this decade and there are seven key challenges to achieve 100 per cent smartphone penetration, according to a new report. With the shrinking addressable base for smartphones, India is likely to have 887.4 million smartphone users by 2030, said the report by Gurugram-based market intelligence firm techARC.

The new smartphone user acquisition has been on a decline since 2018, after 4G drove switch to smartphones as it ushered several new use cases and forced feature phone users to upgrade. This, however, is not the case with 5G, which can substantially bring out a new use case for the mobile users compelling the feature phone users to move to a smartphone.

Affordability is the first concern even if users would discover their own use cases. "This is on account of both - investment in the device and the recurring data cost. Even to own a device, it's a substantial increase in the outlay for around 200-250 million users who cannot spent more than Rs 1,500 on a mobile device," said Faisal Kawoosa, Founder and Chief Analyst, techARC.

round gold-colored rupee coins and banknotes Even to own a device, it's a substantial increase in the outlay for around 200-250 million users who cannot spent more than Rs 1,500 on a mobile device. | Photo by rupixen.com on Unsplash

Keep reading... Show less