The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #42119   Message #611123
Posted By: Malcolm Douglas
16-Dec-01 - 03:27 PM
Thread Name: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
Iona and Peter Opie (Oxford Book of Nursery Rhymes, 1951) list all the principal "allegorical" explanations, commenting:

"Other stories, giving the rhyme allegorical significance, are not so easy to disprove.  Theories upon which too much ink has been expended are [list, including all those mentioned in this thread].  If any particular explanation is required of the rhyme the straightforward one that it is a description of a familiar entertainment is the most probable."

They generally knew what they were talking about.