Ring-a-ring o’roses

Children for centuries have sung a nursery rhyme which has sinister undertones-

Ring-a-ring o’roses,
A pocket full of posies,
A-tishoo! A-tishoo!
We all fall down.

This song apparently arose in the London streets in 1665 during an epidemic of plague.

“Ring o’roses” refers to small, red rashlike areas on people with plague, or the Black Death.
“Pocket full of posies” was a reference to the fact that from ancient times people believed that evil smells were the poisonous breath of demons who afflicted them with the disease.
“A-tishoo! A-tishoo” During the plague sneezing was a symptom of plague victims.
“We all fall down”. As indeed, thousands of people did-dead.

An estimated 25 million people died during the infamous epidemic of the Black Death, which Europe.


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