There Was a Little Girl

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 79
Occupation: Retired, Former Jeweler
Residence: kelseyville, California
Date of Performance/Collection: May 1, 2021
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

Background:

My informant in this case is my grandmother, who learned this rhyme from her mother and believes it was learned from her mother before. From what I know, that side of my family hails from Ireland which is likely where the rhyme originated.

Context:

This piece was usually used as a nursery rhyme and as a way for my informant to poke fun at her children in a humorous way. My grandma sings this tune quite often in times of relaxation when joking around is warranted. I specifically remember her performing it to myself and my cousins at family gatherings when we were growing up.

Main Piece:

“There was a little girl that had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead. And when she was good, she was very very good, but when she was bad she was horrid!”

Analysis:

This nursery rhyme is an obvious reflection of the extremes of parenting. While parents often claim that bringing a life into the world is the greatest joy that can ever happen to a person, raising children can, at times, seem like a nightmare. In this rhyme, the two sides of that dichotomy are presented in a couplet in order to show that neither can exist without the other.

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