One of the most simple and easy nursery rhymes, “The Muffin Man" also known as "Do You Know The Muffin Man
" is a traditional kids' song and nursery rhyme. This English rhyme is popular among children and preschoolers and is taught to them in many preschools.
Origin and meaning
The traditional nursery rhyme, “The Muffin Man” first appeared in a British manuscript, Circa in 1820, with the lyrics very similar to those in the modern version. This manuscript is still treasured in the Bodleian Library.
Another theory relates the origin of the song to a real incident. A muffin man used to deliver the fresh food including muffins to many of the Victorian households. The “muffin” in the question is referred to the bread product, English muffins in the United States. “Drury Lane” is a road bordering Covent Garden in London.
“The Muffin Man” as a nursery rhyme and game became popular in other parts of the world around the mid-nineteenth century, especially in the United States and the Netherlands. Just like other traditional kids' songs and nursery rhymes, there is regional variation in the lyrics of the rhyme. In some of the variations, "Dorset Lane" is used instead of “Drury Lane”.
Fun game for kids to enjoy
Folklorists, Iona and Peter Opie noted that different types of games associated are to “The Muffin Man' nursery rhyme such as a guessing game (a game involving participants to compete to recognize some hidden indicated thing), a forfeit game and a dancing ring.
An English novelist, Matilda Anne Mackarness has described the game type, which is played by kids in “The Young Lady's Book” (1888). As per the description is given in the book, the first player turns to the next player and sings, "Do you know the muffin man? The muffin man, the muffin man.
Do you know the muffin man who lives in Drury Lane?"
The one who is addressed replies by singing "Yes, I know the muffin man. The muffin man, the muffin man. Oh, yes, I know the muffin man, who lives in Drury Lane."
And then both the players sing "Then two of us know the muffin man, the muffin man,"
The second player then turns to the third player, repeating the same process as above. Only in the last line, “Then two of us know the muffin man, the muffin man,", “two” is replaced with “three”.
Then the third player turns to the fourth player and so on, the same question and answer are repeated. Only the last line is varied by the addition of one more number each time.
Finally, the game is concluded by singing, “We all know the Muffin Man”.