I wrote this post in response to a blog series I have been following called “Dark Origins: Nursery rhymes and fairy tales” by Roberta Eaton Cheadle. The series provides an in-depth discussion of the history and social context for the nursery rhymes and fairy tales many of us grew up with. I was already familiar with some of these “dark origins” from my mother’s copy of The Annotated Mother Goose. However, I was surprised by my own horrified reaction to tales I’d reveled in as a child. That brought me once again to Lambikin.
The Origin of Lambikin
I’ve mentioned in previous posts that my father’s pet name for me when I was little was Lambikin. Out of curiosity a few years ago, I Googled “lambikin,” thinking to confirm that it’s not a real word and discovered that “The Lambikin” is a fairy tale that originated in India. Who knew? If either of my parents read it to me, I certainly don’t remember it.
The Accumulative Droll
I located a version of the fairy tale in a 1921 children’s literature textbook for teachers. According to the book’s editor, “It is an accumulative droll in character and should be told early along with, say, ‘The Story of the Three Little Pigs’.”1 I settled into a comfy chair to enjoy the accumulative drollery of “The Lambikin.” Here is the result:
The Accumulative Droll Reading Experience
1″The Lambikin,” in Children’s Literature: A Textbook of Sources for Teachers and Teacher-Training Classes, ed. Charles Madison Curry and Erle Elsworth Clippinger (Chicago, New York: Rand, McNally, 1921), 149.