1- Jack and Jill
Went up the hill,
To fetch a pail of water;
Jack fell down,
And broke his crown,
And Jill came tumbling after.
2- Then up Jack got,
And home did trot,
As fast as he could caper;
To old Dame Dob,
Who patched his nob
With vinegar and brown paper.
3- When Jill came in,
How she did grin
To see Jack's paper plaster;
His mother, vexed,
Did whip her next,
For laughing at Jack's disaster.
4- Now Jack did laugh
And Jill did cry,
But her tears did soon abate;
Then Jill did say,
That they should play
At see-saw across the gate.

collected from the Internet

This was originally a Scandinavian tale. Jack and Jill, two very naughty children decided to go up the hill to steal a bucket of dew that the moon god Mani had left there. The moon came out from behind a cloud and asked his friend the wind to blow them away. The wind did as the moon had asked. While Jack and Jill were at the bottom of the hill tending to Jack's broken head, the moon captured them. Hence the image of two children with a bucket suspended from a rod between them on the surface of the full moon.

In the Norse Mythology the names were Hjuki and Bil. This rhyme deals with the markings on the full moon. The two boys went up a hill to draw water from a well and were captured by Mani, the God of the moon. When the moon is full two children with a bucket on a pole can be seen. This source and additional information about Mani comes from the Encyclopedia Mythica under the Norse Mythology section.

Another suggestion is that Jill was originally written as Gill and the other character in the rhyme was a corrupt King named Jack. He played with the standard for the unit of measurement Gill to receive more gold. He was found out and his Kingdom was lost thus the line "Jack fell down and broke his crown". The Gill was not used after that and thus the line "the Gill came tumbling after".

Yet another suggests that Jack and Jill referred to another beheading - Louis XVI, and of course Marie Antoinette would be the Jill who came tumbling after.

Louis XVI was considered weak, ignorant, and distracted in comparison to his predecessors. In 1770 he married Marie Antoinette who heavily influenced his decisions thereafter. (JACK AND JILL)

Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette became the King and Queen of France in 1774. (WENT UP THE HILL)

In the Mid 1770s, France was in a financial crisis, and heavy taxation caused a nationwide withdrawal from royal patriotism. In order to quell the flames of rebellion among the people, Louis XVI remitted some of the most oppressive taxes and began financial and judicial reforms (like water from a pail). (TO FETCH A PAIL OF WATER)

The French Bourgeoisie would not allow large enough reforms to be implemented. In July of 1789, the Parisian populace razed the Bastille, and imprisoned the king and royal family in the palace of the Tuileries. (JACK FELL DOWN)

In 1792, when the National Convention declared France a republic, the king was tried for treason, convicted, and sentenced to death. Louis XVI was guillotined in Paris on January 21, 1793. (AND BROKE HIS CROWN)

After being separated from her son, Marie Antoinette was sent before the revolutionary tribunal, and sentenced to death for treason. She was guillotined in Paris on October 16, 1793. (A tumbling head) (AND JILL CAME TUMBLING AFTER)

Another says that it is a true story about a couple in Scotland by the name of Jack and Jill. Jack went up a hill to get a pail of water he slipped and fell and was killed. Jill, broken-hearted, died not long after.

Still another says that this rhyme was about two powerful religious leaders who served under King Henry VIII of England. It says, "In 1518, the two leaders, a cardinal and a bishop, tried to settle a feud between France and Rome. They failed, and war broke out. The cardinal sent British troops to fight against France and raised taxes to pay for the war." The people of England hated the two leaders and it is said that this rhyme was invented to make fun of them.

Another source says that Jill, in earlier versions, used to be "Gill" and was depicted as a boy.

From the Dictionary of Phrase and Fable we get a definition of "Gill" to be a generic name for a girl or a sweetheart. Jack also means male in some references and is used quite a lot in nursery rhymes.

In the book "The New International Book of Quotes" it says that this rhyme was written about the year 1600.

The phrase "up the hill to fetch a pail of water" could have meant having sex, something like "getting into the backseat" in today's time. This suggests that this rhyme is about Jack and Jill losing their innocence and Jill becoming pregnant.

Another story is that Jack and Jill were young lovers in Kilmersdon, England, during the latter part of the 15th century. The hill was where they went to be alone. Jill became pregnant with Jack's baby and months later Jack was killed by a boulder. Ironically Jill died in childbirth a few days after Jack's death. Both the hill and the well have been restored for tourists.

In the second verse:
Up Jack got and off did trot,
As fast as he could caper,
He went to bed to mend his head,
With vinegar and brown paper.
Vinegar and brown paper were used to draw out bruises on the body.

Yet another account from an old textbook regarding measuring techniques says that: "In England, during the Middle Ages, the ro was used to measure food and liquids. A new measurement was created by doubling the ro. It was called a handful. Two handfuls were a jack, and two jacks were a jill. A jill could be doubled to make a cup. Two cups make a pint, and two pints make a quart. The demand for a more accurate system came in the 1600's during the reign of Charles I in England. Charles decided to take advantage of the unequal measurements by placing a tax on everything sold by the jack. In addition, he decreased the size of a jack. The peasants were hardest hit by this action. Since they had little money, they typically bought their food in small amounts, usually no more than a jack of milk, or a jill of grain, for example. Charles's action made the peasants pay more money for less food. The jack, then later the jill, became unpopular with the peasants. Eventually, the jack and jill went out of favor. The peasants celebrated the end of the use of the hack and jill by making up a rhyme that survives to this day. Hence, the crown refers to Charles I. In time, a standardized set of measurements was agreed upon."

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