One man went to mow

One man went to mow, went to mow a meadow. One man and his dog, went to mow a meadow.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’d query the value of the dog. It would tend to scurry about, getting in the way and not generally being much use in the mowing department. Unless, of course, it was a trained mower and was able to give the man a break from time to time. It could, at a stretch, be a highly skilled mower and thus render the man’s presence pretty irrelevant.

Maybe the dog had poor eyesight and so needed the man to take him to the meadow, get him sorted with the mower and turn him round at each end. Sort of a guide dog, in reverse.

Then again, maybe he was just there because of the song. But you don’t get too many popular songs or nursery rhymes with an entirely gratuitous animal planted in it, just to make it scan, but of no relevance to the action. Hickory Dickory Dock, for instance, has the mouse in a fairly central role. Running UP the clock before, of course, running DOWN again following the striking of the hour. Hardly peripheral.

Three Blind Mice, again, features the rodents in a strongly central role – admittedly sharing some of the limelight with the farmer’s wife – but clearly not stuck in on a whim as merely hapless victims of the knife-wielding maniac with a disturbing hobby of collecting mouse tails.

Mind you, you are tempted to wonder exactly why the mice are blind, and what this adds to the scenario. “Three blind mice – see how they run”. With extreme care, one would presume, with a fair bit of bonking straight into bits of furniture. And was the farmer’s wife performing her tail removal in a carefully planned operation, rodents in hand, or wildly slashing at them as they scampered past? In which case a meat cleaver might have achieved more, you’d have thought.

One man went to mow, went to mow a meadow. One man and his mouse, went to mow a meadow. Now there’s a idea to conjure with.

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