The legend of Three Blind Mice

The popular children’s rhyme was first published in 1609, long after Queen Mary I (Bloody Mary) died in 1558. However, rumours say that the rhyme has a hidden bloody event behind the words…

Hugh Latimer, Nicholas Ridley and Thomas Cranmer are referred to as the Oxford Martyrs, three Protestant bishops who were victims of religious persecution. Legends said that they had been blinded and the rhyme Three Blind Mice refers to them. The truth is that the bishops were burnt at the stake.

The rhyme was published in Deuteromelia or The Seconde part of Musicks melodie by Thomas Ravencroft, a musican who had collected numerous folk songs in his various collections.

Long before it became a children’s rhyme, Three Blind Mice went on like this:

Three Blinde Mice,
Three Blinde Mice,
Dame Iulian,
Dame Iulian,
the Miller and his merry olde Wife, she scrapte her tripe licke thou the knife.

Although no bloody event can be proved in the original version, the current one is bloody enough indeed:


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