1. Historical background of a nursery rhyme & why it has been lost: 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 The origin of the Jack and Jill nursery rhyme is possibly from Scandinavia mythology. Jack and Jill were very mischievous and they went up the hill to steal a bucket of dew that Mani (the moon god) left there. The moon emerged from behind a cloud and asked the wind to blow Jack and Jill away. The wind complied. While at the bottom of the hill attending to Jack's broken head, the moon caught them. Here stems the image of two children with a bucket hanging from a rod between them on the surface of a full moon.
Another suggestion is that the Jack and Jill nursery rhyme refers to the beheading of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.
Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette became King and Queen of France in 1774; thus the line "Went Up the Hill". In the mid 1770's, France was in financial crisis. To calm the ever growing rebellion amongst the people, Louis XVI remitted the most unfair taxes and began financial restructuring; "To Fetch a Pail of Water". This signifies putting out the flames of rebellion. The French Bourgeoisie had the King and Royal Family imprisoned in 1789; "Jack Fell Down". In 1792, Louis XVI was tried for treason, convicted and sentenced to death by guillotine; "And Broke His Crown". Next, Marie Antoinette was convicted and sentenced to death for treason. She too was guillotined; "And Jill Came Tumbling After".
The memory of this rhyme seems to have been lost over many years. The actual origins are unclear which may be one reason most people lack this knowledge. These rhymes are generally now told only to children and have gained a purpose solely for amusement. When children are taught the rhyme, they are not told about Louis XVI or anything about Scandinavian mythology. Their young minds are not yet mature enough to comprehend the data. The rhymes are generally taken in a literal sense and no thought to their historical origins takes place. Generally, the reason the memory of it's origin appears to be lost is that modern day society rarely think back to the reign of Louis XVI in the 1700's, much less associate with it.
2. Identify the type of contamination in two urban legends: Modern myths and legends exist in our present day society in the form of urban legends. Urban legends are continuously being passed on by word of mouth and more easily by email via the Internet. Urban legends are warnings of contamination. They represent fears all humans have of things that are threatening. Two urban legends that exist are stories of "The Hook" and "Red Eyes". Their contamination warnings are clear and the fears they represent can easily be related to.
In the urban legend "The Hook", two high school kids are out on a date. They decide to go to a secluded area and make out. On the way, they hear news broadcasts about a convict that killed many people, has a hook for a left hand and had escaped from a local prison. They finally arrive at their destination and proceed as planned. While kissing they hear scratching noises. After many attempts to ignore the noise, they decide to leave. Once they arrived at the girl's house, the boy exits the vehicle and proceeds to go open the door for his girlfriend. When on the other side of the car, he sees a hook hanging from the door handle. This legend expresses contamination in the form of attempted violence. The violence from persons unknown to them, the fear of what the convict is capable of and the fear of being alone in a secluded area. This story has been around for years and will continue to thrive as society has an increasing problem with violence between other people in society.
"Red Eyes" is another urban legend similar to "The Hook". It begins with a boy and a girl wanting a private area to make out in. They decide to go to an old cemetery. While making out, the boy hears a thud from the rear area of the car. The girl does not hear it. When ignoring it fails, the boy exits the car and goes to rear of the vehicle to investigate the cause of the noise. What he finds is a pair of red eyes glowing in the darkness and moving toward him. It was a little pale demon-thing standing there. In fear, he rushes toward the car door. Trying to get in, the demon-thing hisses and growls showing its sharp teeth. As he was just about inside the door, the demon lunged at him but went through him like spirit and disappeared into the ground. The fears expressed in this legend are also fears of violence, the fear of physical harm caused by an alien or paranormal being. The fear of the unknown is the general contamination. The fact this legend takes place in a cemetery is also a contributing fear. Most people can relate to this story as the fear of cemeteries, the dead, ghosts and aliens are a main focus in today's horror movies and media.
Urban legends will always exist. They play on the fear we all inhibit. They evoke much emotion, reaction and fascination. The contamination in urban legends may not always be of legitimate causes. Some fears are created from the simple unknown created in the mind. Whichever the cause, the outcome is the same. Fear of what threatens us will continually exist.