Every culture has its oral traditions; songs, stories and poems that are passed from mother to child, grandfather to grandkid, nanny to ward. Throughout the ages, dozens of versions of similar tales pop up repeatedly across the world. Some of them are actually incredibly dark and some are lighthearted fare; others are more like an Aesop's fable, designed to illuminate something specific about human nature or impart some hard-earned advice. In some cultures, specific tales are turned into songs that retell them in a fashion that is suitable for all ages, as well as being extremely catchy.
In the West, these songs are often known as nursery rhymes, and they are generally ubiquitous. Many of them are European in origin, while others come from further afield. People don't tend to know their origins - for example, there's one that recognizes the Black Death, while another one is thought to refer to either child sacrifice, public executions, or possibly Henry VIII's various marital misadventures. In one sense, they are highly sanitized, while in another, they're actually familiarizing our kids with some really dark themes.
You don't have to know where they come from to remember them, of course! So click on through and let's see how well you know your nursery rhymes.