POP! GOES THE WEASEL.

We all sang it and jumped rope to it when we were kids. Well, sometimes I forget what generation I’m in. But, surely we’ve all HEARD the song.

“All around the mulberry bush,
The monkey chased the weasel,
the monkey stopped to pull up his sock.
Pop! goes the weasel.

A penny for a spool of thread,
a penny for a needle.
That’s the way the money goes.
Pop! goes the weasel.

I knew what a weasel was since we had chickens and weasels are as clever as foxes at breaking into the chicken coop. My dad would point out their tracks and curse them vehemently.

There are many verses sung in various parts of the world. The song actually originated in London in 1852. Most of the verses were sort of ribald tales of “where the money goes…as in carousing, gambling, drinking, and worse..”

As it turns out, the rollicking little song isn’t about a chicken eating weasel either. The usual chorus in London was,
Up and down the City Road,
In and out the Eagle,
That’s the way the money goes-
Pop! goes the weasel.

The Eagle was a well known London music hall where drinks were sold. The weasel was a tool used by hatters, often pawned on Saturday night. Pop was a slang term for hock.

Hmmm! Now I know Pop goes the weasel wasn’t an American jump rope song, nor a simple fun rhyme that was easy to make up verses to match it.  It was an adult fun ditty.  And,  now you know too.

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