Looking back at our charming childhood, we all have always had some signature poems or rhymes on our lips. One of those rhymes is what you remember as ‘Baa, Baa, Black Sheep.’ But, have you ever wondered about the origin & history associated with this little poem?
Do you know why it is so fun to learn and how well it fits into the bag of goodies, cute books, and delightful poems for kids of every generation to date?
Think no more! We are here to unravel every little detail about the poem, ‘Baa, Baa, Black Sheep,’ for you and your kids to learn and enjoy together.
But, before that, let’s check out what the lyrics are:
Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir,
Three bags full.
One for the master,
One for the dame,
And one for the little boy
Who lives down the lane.
Download this cute song for your child’s room or print this out to teach the rhyme you once loved. Find it here.
Origin & History
Baa, Baa, Black Sheep is a famous English rhyme. Its original version dates back to 1744 and was first published in Tommy Thumb’s Pretty Song Book. The English version is believed to come from an old French song, “Ah, Vous Dirai-Je, Maman !” by Louis Le Maire. Interestingly, it also shares the same tune.
It is a very common nursery rhyme and relatively easier for younger children to understand. It is observed that children across the world enjoy it and learn about life in the countryside, the sound made by sheep, and the fact that sheep are the primary source of natural wool fiber.
In previous studies, it has been suggested that the rhyme highlights the resentment towards wool taxation in the 13th century, imposed by King Edward I. It goes back to the medieval English "Great" or "Old Custom" wool tax, which remained until the 15th century.
According to custom, one portion of the price of a sack of wool went to the King, another went to the church, and a third went to the farmer. Another interesting fact about the rhyme is that the wool of black sheep could have been used to manufacture dark clothes without dyeing them. Thus, a black sheep’s wool might have been on the costlier side.
It is largely popular because of being short, musical, and consists of simpler words.
Learning nursery rhymes enhances the kids’ focus and retention abilities. It improves their pronunciation and auditory skills too. Other than that, mimicking the rhymes' actions helps the kids strengthen their communication skills and cognitive functions.
We can make children relate to the impact of cold during winters and how wearing warm clothing (made of wool) helps them stay warm.