Songs and stories for kids are big business these days, and have a more cheery, nurturing tone than in the “good ol’ days”. We all know how “ring-around-the-rosie” is a little plague poem, and I mean, Brothers Grimm? They actually sound like characters in one of their twisted tales.
But surely the story behind this upbeat number couldn’t be dark. I mean, it’s called Babes In the Wood, and, it’s about……ok. Well, it’s a bit like the Grimm’s Hansel and Gretel. It comes from an old broadside ballad, in which two children are put in their uncle’s charge after their parents’ death. He promptly claims their inheritance and leads them off into the woods, leaving them to their fated deaths.
The term “babe in the woods” has come to express one’s innocence, or even pitiable naivetee. There’s also a correlation to the haunted Tower of London.