Three Blind Mice
The Dowdy Wife Is she running toward or away from
Alternate Herbs? Now what can I do with these
Three Mice in Holland Who?s chasing whom here?
One Merry Mouse But what of the other two?
Why Are They Following Her? Don?t they know they
are in danger?
Jovial and Unaware Are these mice high-stepping
Three Mice and Two Women Does the farmer?s wife
need backup here?
Come Along Now The journey is better than the
The New American Gothic Will there be mice tails
Although there is no definitive proof as to the original inspiration for the nursery rhyme, Three Blind Mice, some propose it
is a statement concerning England?s Queen Mary I, who became known as ?Bloody Mary.? According to various websites, including
Henry VIII and
Patch Theatre: the "farmer's wife" was Queen Mary I of England, so called because her estates included a lot of farmland. She was displeased with three
ratty noblemen, but she didn't dismember them as the rhyme suggests. She simply had them burned at the stake.
As with many nursery rhymes that may have originated in political commentary, the illustrations are not overtly connected to the
historical figure. The illustrations presented for this study do not always include the ?farmer?s wife;? and when they do, she does not
resemble Mary I.
Exactly what the primary focus of the rhyme is differs according to
its illustration. In some, it is the farmer?s wife; in others, it is
the mice, and in some, the wife and the mice share the spotlight. These
main characters are oftentimes distinctly depicted, with variations
in realism, personification, and demeanor. The phase of the action ---
whether before, during, or after the cutting off of the tails --- also
differs; however, in the cases of the cutting or post cutting, blood
is never present. Consequently, such consistent inconsistencies in the
illustrations create contrasting moods. These key elements define the
A digitized version of Three Blind Mice . Cover by John
W. Ivimey; illustrated by Walton Corbould.
Fascinating take on the tale; relating to American Jewish Congress
Origami & Three Blind Mice provides directions to create the
A musical Schenkerian analysis
This nursery rhyme is less than fifty words in length, including the two
repeated phrases, yet its central focus is debatable. Is the subject the
wife? The mice? Their severed tails? Their blindness? The various illustrations
create conflicting moods and invoke conflicting responses from the audience,
ranging from indifference to curiosity, and from disgust to compassion.
Even the compassion varies ? at times it is for the mice, at other times, it is for the farmer?s wife. The rhyme asks, ?Did have you ever see
such a sight in your life as three blind mice?? Clearly, now the answer is
yes, and in many different ways.
This shirt was designed to encourage discussion about Orientation and Mobility,
the use of the long white cane, and to spread the message that blind
and visually impaired travelers, can and do get around independently.
This rhyme has frequently been used in political satire.
Versions and Variants
Textual Versions and Variants - A complete listing of the versions and variants of this rhyme
Visual Versions and Variants - A comparative listing of all associated within Eclipse
Rhyme Specific Bibliography
The Eventful History of Three Blind Mice. Illustrated by Winslow
Homer.Introduction by Maurice Sendak. Afterword by Joseph W. Reed. New York:
Oxford University Press, 1996.
Moorat, Joseph. Thirty Old-Time Nursery Songs. Arranged by Joseph
Moorat & pictured by Paul Woodroffe. New York: The Metropolitan Museum
of Art and Thames & Hudson, [c1980] Reprint of the 1912 edition.
Three Blind Mice. Illustrated by Lorinda Bryan Cauley. New York: G. P.
Putnam's Sons, 1991.