Chekhov’s carving knife

Yes, we get the joking premise of “what if nursery rhymes were actively written by teams like modern or tin-pan-alley era songwriting partnerships”.  But there is no third stanza in the actual nursery rhyme, nothing like stanzas really … so is that in there just to fit with the (secondary) joke about the Chekhov’s Gun principle?  

Three blind mice. Three blind mice.
See how they run. See how they run.
They all ran after the farmer’s wife,
Who cut off their tails with a carving knife,
Did you ever see such a sight in your life,
As three blind mice?

14 Comments

  1. On a tangental note, my friend bought a book of nursery rhymes for her son when he was a toddler. The tail-cutting line in Three Blind Mice had been altered to “She cut up some cake with a carving knife” and the picture showed a cat in a dress serving slices of cake to the mice. I don’t have a point here; the comic brought it to mind is all.

  2. Three rodents with defective vision
    Three rodents with defective vision
    Observe how they perambulate
    Observe how they perambulate
    Together they molested the agriculturists spouse
    She amputated their dorsal appendage with a culinary utensil
    Did you ever observe such an occurrence in all your born days
    Three Rodents with Defective vision.

  3. “Defective vision” is hurtful and ableist.

    There’s nothing more than the obvious of “Hey! Wouldn’t it be funny if nursery rhymes were written with some care?” Which, of course, they obviously were. So…?

  4. “But there is no third stanza in the actual nursery rhyme, nothing like stanzas really … so is that in there just to fit with the (secondary) joke about the Chekhov’s Gun principle? ”

    Why ask “why”? That’s it exactly.

    And it doesn’t bear the weight of scrutiny.

    For one thing the don’t introduce the carving knife until the very act of using it. (which if I stretch the analogy is the third act: Opening credits and exposition: Three Blind Mice. Act One: See how the run. Act Two: They all ran after the farmers wife. Act Three: Who cut off their tails with a carving knife. Conclusion: Did you ever see such a sight in your life. Final Credits: Three blind mice.

  5. Sorry Bill if the ancient and honorable Yale version of Three Blind Mice doesn’t fit in with some modern sensibilities. I will / S this reply if you were only being slightly snarky.

  6. Raymond, I was entirely tongue in cheek. As the spouse of someone living with a disability, I’m not overly sensitive. And I’ve got some rather defective vision myself. Some changes in terminology, such as “disabled” or “handicapped” rather than “crippled” are more accurate and less marginalizing, I think. However, contorting language because you think that a paraplegic’s biggest problem is that somebody called them a “disabled person” rather than “a person living with a disability,” well, I think those people are silly and get in the way.

  7. The stanzas: 2 couplets with repeating lines, the first about the mice, the second inviting in the observer. The third is a rhyming triplet.(or “tercet”, which I notices when looking up how to spell “couplet”. (Hey, don’t judge me; my fingers started with “cu” and I gave my subconscious the benefit of the doubt.))

  8. In the song “Rhymes Have I” from “Kismet” there’s a little joke of pronouncing “couplet” like “coo-play” as though a French loan word (which it may have been at some time). And the joke in there is that the “coo-play” pronunciation is needed for a rhyme.

    To a world too prone to be prosaic …

  9. Robert quit his job as director of a mental health center (and day school) for children before the terms he learned to use were decided to be not proper.

    A number of those in his graduate program were, what would now be called “differently able” but the ones with ocular problems preferred to refer themselves as “blinks”.

  10. Mitch4 – Peaky Blinders was a turn of the century (19th to 20th) gang in Birmingham, UK. There was (or is) a UK TV series starting Cillian Murphy that is rather popular and uses the same name as the gang. Not sure if it has been shown in the US other than by, possibly, streaming service.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peaky_Blinders

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