"Bultmann Reads Mother Goose," by Jack Lundquist
I-A: Hey diddle-diddle,
I-B: The cat and the fiddle,
II-A: The cow jumped over the moon,
II-B: The little dog laughed to see such sport,
III-: And the dish ran away with the spoon.
1. Authorship and Date: Internal evidence rejects the view that we
have here an original composition by Mary (Mother) Goose of Boston
(1686-1743). The phrasing of I-A is definitely late eighteenth
century, since the Goose Period would have rendered it "diddley-
diddley" (and thus "fiddley" in I-B). Furthermore, the sequence "cat-
cow-dog-dish" represents an obvious redaction and is a compilation of
at least four different accounts. Thus, the author of the piece is
unknown, and its date set between 1780 and 1820. The Sitz im
Leben of the Depression of 1815 may be reflected in III.
2. Text: The received text is very corrupt. The mythological element
in II-A is typical of many other interpolations, as is the
anthropomorphism in II-B. However, I-A may be original, excluding,
of course, the "hey."
3. Interpretation: Stripped of its thought forms, the piece tells us
of something revolutionary as existentially encountered by three
animals, two cooking implements, and one musical instrument.
1. Discussed in F. Sauerkraut, Gooses Werke, vol. XXVII, pp. 825-906;
G.F.W. Steinbauger, Gooserbrief, pp. 704-8636; Festschrift fur Baron
von Munchausen, pp. XIII-XX; R. Pretzelbender, Die Goosensinger vom
Bostom, p. 10.
2. See P. Katzenjammer in Goosengeschichtliche Schule Jahrbuch, vol.
3. Some attribute it to Mary's grandson, Wild Goose (1793-1849), and
other Wild Goose's nephew, Cooked (1803-1865). Both views are
challenged by A. Kegdrainer in the thirty volume prolegomenon,
Gooseleiden, vol. XV.
4. F. Pfeffernusse contends it is an English translation of a German
original by the infant Wagner. See his Goose und Volkgeist, pp. 38-
52; see also his Geist und Volkgoose, pp. 27-46.
5. The authenticity of both II-A and II-B is poorly argued by the
reactionary American Goosologist, Carl Sanbag in his Old Glory and
Mother Goose (see vol. IV, The Winters in the South, p. 357).
6. The meaning of the word "hey" is now hopelessly obscure. See my
articles on "Hey, That Ain't" and "Hey, What The" in Goosengrease,
7. Perhaps an eclipse of the moon?