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Pop goes the weasel

Posted by Bob on August 27, 2000

In Reply to: Pop goes the weasel posted by Franbo on August 26, 2000

: : : : : : : : : I think that a 'weassel' was an iron used by London tailors, who popped their weassel when they were short of money.

: : : : : : : : POP GOES THE WEASEL! - "From earliest childhood we remember with fondness the nonsense rhyme about the monkey and the weasel. Remember? 'Every night when I come home, The Monkey's on the table. I take a stick and knock him off. And Pop goes the Weasel!' Here is the background of the original, and far different, British version of this rhyme - which turns out to be not such nonsense after all. It runs: 'Up and down the City Road, In and out the Eagle, That's the way the money goes. Pop goes the weasel.' And would you believe that the whole silly rhyme started with some drunken London hatters, the kind that today's sociologists would label 'compulsive drinkers'? True. And here's the explanation. The City Road was a street in London where there was a much-liked tavern ('pub' in England, of course) called The Eagle. To it on Saturday nights, and maybe oftener, went many a hatmaker. If he was short of funds, as often happened, he pawned ('popped') his weasel (a hatmaker's tool). So there you have, unmasked, the sordid truth behind that simple nursery rhyme." From "Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins" by William and Mary Morris (HarperCollins, New York, 1977, 1988).

: : : : : : :
: : : : : : : I remember the rhyme as

: : : : : : : half a pound of tuppenny rice
: : : : : : : half a pound of treacle
: : : : : : : thats the way the money goes
: : : : : : : pop goes the weasel

: : : : : : I wonder how many versions there are. I remember
: : : : : : Round and round the mulberrry bush,
: : : : : : The monkey chased the weasel,
: : : : : : The monkey thought it was all in fun
: : : : : : Pop goes the weasel.

: : : : : I always knew it as:

: : : : : All around the mulberry bush
: : : : : the monkey chased the weasel
: : : : : thats the way the story goes
: : : : : Pop goes the weasel

: : : : That last version gets my vote too.

: : : Question.
: : : In the last two similar versions.
: : : What would the significance be at the end-- when the weasel goes "pop"---his temper?
: : : The original (as stated above) explains the popping as the pawning of a tool and not the creature.

: : Quite

: For an extensive collection of variations visit
: http://www.dur.ac.uk/~dbl1szh/irrationalities/popgoestheweasel.html

Awesome.