Early Versions And Origins Of Hey Diddle Diddle

"Hey Diddle Diddle", also popularly "Hi Diddle Diddle", "The Pig Jumped Over the Moon" or "The Cat and the Fiddle" is children's favorite song and English nursery rhyme. The melody associated to the rhymes was first recored by a popular nursery rhyme collector, James William Elliott in his 'National Nursery rhymes and Nursery Songs'. It is a funny kids song that keeps the little ones happy and entertained!
Early Versions And Origins Of Hey Diddle DiddleYoutube

Origins and meaning of the nursery rhyme

The songwriter of "Hey Diddle Diddle' is not known but it is believed that the rhyme dates back to the sixteenth century. Few references claim that it dates back thousand or more years, as in the medieval period, a cat playing a fiddle was a popular image used in the manuscripts. 

Reference to the rhyme is also found in Alexander Montgomerie's 'The Cherry and the Slae' (1597). The words were as follows:

"But since you think't an easy thing

To mount above the moon,

Of your own fiddle take a spring

And dance when you have done."

Another possible reference to "Hey Diddle Diddle" nursery rhyme is noted in Thomas Preston's play 'A lamentable tragedy mixed ful of pleasant mirth, conteyning the life of Cambises King of Percia', which was printed in 1569: 

"They be at hand Sir with stick and fiddle;

They can play a new dance called hey-diddle-diddle."

The earliest recored version of the rhyme was very similar to the modern version, which was printed in Mother Goose's Melody in 1765. Lyrics were very similar to the contemporary version, only the last two lines of this version were replaced with:

"The little dog laugh'd to see such Craft,

And the Fork ran away with the Spoon."

Like many other nursery rhymes and kids' songs, numerous theories have been advanced to explain the origins of "Hey Diddle Diddle" rhyme. James Orchard Halliwell's (a well-known collector of fairy tales and nursery rhymes) suggested various theories including it is related to the corruption of ancient Greek; associated with Hathor (an ancient Egyptian Goddess) worship; described the flight from Egypt; depicted Elizabeth, Lady Katherine Grey, and her relationships with the earls of Hertford and Leicester, deals with anti-clerical feeling over command given by Catholic priests for challenging work and many more.  

The above profusions of origins of the rhyme, with unsupported evidences, was satirized by J.R.R. (an English writer and poet) in his fictional explanations of 'The Man in the Moon Stayed Up Too Late.' Moreover, most of the commentators believe that verse is simply nonsense as none of these theories have proper evidence.  

Singing nursery rhymes and kids' songs is always fun and entertaining. Learn lyrics to this popular nursery rhyme and enjoy a joyful time with your friends!