But now two of my childhood songs are exposed as having entirely different meanings than what I was taught.
You already know that I attended a laboratory grade school on the USU campus, and one of the things they did in Kindergarten was to introduce us to French. No, I cannot speak French. But I love—and sing-- these two little songs with French roots. You probably know them, too.
One is Frere Jacque and the other is Alouette. Here’s the skinny.
Frere Jacque is about a Catholic friar. In English he’s called Brother John. I was taught that he was sleeping in, and some kind person is trying to wake him up because “morning bells are ringing.” But no. He is a slacker who is supposed to be pulling the rope in the bell tower to remind the other monks to pray. Turns out he is literally sleeping on the job.
Alouette is about a little bird. I thought we were singing about a perky little fellow who was helping us learn the words for head, nose, eyes, wings, tail, and so on. Ha! Spoiler alert: This is a cheery tune about plucking the feathers off a poor little lark so he can be sliced up for cooking!
Ah, innocence shattered. And don’t even get me started on nursery rhymes. (And yes, this is why I wrote the book, “LDS NURSERY RHYMES”).
Check out that book and many more at my website. Then take a gander at my short Youtube Mom videos. I promise not to sing about laziness or butchering.