Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater

Peter's Pumpkin Patch
Peter’s Pumpkin Patch

After painting these three pumpkins I couldn’t get that age-old sing-song poem out of my head. The playfulness of this nursery rhyme is one that has always been a personal favorite, but under the rhyme is a very strange tale. I mean, who was Peter’s wife that he felt compelled to “keep her” in a claustrophobic fruit? And who was Peter that he would even do such a shocking thing? Either his wife was one nasty grump or Peter was a wife abuser. Maybe both are true? In the end, though, the wife gets a really raw deal while Peter is footloose and fancy-free. That is of course unless he needs a foot to hold down the top of the pumpkin shell.

Peter, Peter pumpkin eater, had a wife but couldn’t keep her. So he put her in a shell, and there he kept her very well.

What nonsense has been handed down to us? And this is a very old nursery rhyme — dating back to the 18th century. But many versions of Peter’s tale have been published since then. We all know of the Mother Goose version, but I came across another published in 1868 in Aberdeen, Scotland.

Peter, my neeper, Had a wife, And he couidna’ keep her, He pat her i’ the wa’, And lat a’ the mice eat her.

Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater
A Mother Goose illustration by William Wallace Denslow

No thank you. I think I prefer the Mother Goose version to that fate.

But, thankfully, someone conjured a new verse and saved the wife and. possibly, Peter in the end.

Peter, Peter pumpkin eater, Had another and didn’t love her; Peter learned to read and spell, And then he loved her very well.

Ah, the benefit of a solid education. If only.


Christmas Card Shop

Creating Christmas cards has been so much fun. I hope those who receive one of these cards feel as great a pleasure as I have this year. I’m thinking about other occasions for which you might enjoy my designs. If you are in need of a few Christmas cards check out my Contact page for more information. And many thanks to my supporters.

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 Love and Peace,


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