“Thursday’s bairn has far to go” (Mother Goose)

american pillar

For some reason I’ve never known what day of the week I was born. Perhaps it doesn’t matter. But I’ve been thinking about Mother Goose rhymes lately, maybe because somewhere, not immediately known (one of the hazards of living in a house with teetering bookshelves in every room), I have an edition of the Annotated Mother Goose, given to me as a school prize in grade 12, for my “work in English Literature”. Not my writing (though I did have a poem published in an anthology that year) but because I somehow found the subject that called to me and let me excel that year. I remember writing a term paper on Paradise Lost and loving the process of textual analysis. Who knew?

Anyway, I always loved this rhyme.

Monday’s bairn is fair of face,
Tuesday’s bairn is full of grace,
Wednesday’s bairn is full of woe,
Thursday’s bairn has far to go,
Friday’s bairn is loving and giving,
Saturday’s bairn works hard for its living;
But the bairn that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny, and blithe, and good and gay.

I suspected I wasn’t a Monday bairn. And definitely not a Tuesday either. By googling my birthdate, I discovered I was born on a Thursday, the bairn who has far to go. What does that mean? A little sleuthing leads me to sites that suggest Thursday’s child will accomplish something significant in life. I sort of remember reading Noel Streatfeild’s Thursday’s Child when I was around 10. Because I took ballet lessons that year, I was given her Ballet Shoes as a gift and even though I never became a dancer (reserved for Tuesday’s children?), I loved reading about children who did. I’ll never forget waking early one morning to the rich scent of leather and finding a pair of supple pink ballet shoes on my pillow, put there by my mum to make a difficult situation easier. (It had to do with catching a skin disease from my seatmate in grade 5, a boy who was repeatedly sent home to bathe. The treatment for the disease necessitated me standing naked in the family bathtub while my mother used a paintbrush to apply the medication to my entire skin surface.) Thursday’s Child was about a foundling who became a member of a travelling theatre troupe after running away from a bleak orphanage.

My sons were born on Mondays, my daughter on a Friday (the 13th). Speaking as a mother, I do think my sons are fair of face, as is their sister, and yes, the Friday child is loving. I’m relieved they weren’t born on Wednesday. I see just now that my husband was also born on a Friday and yup, he fits the profile.

Yesterday I was deadheading roses on the upper deck and I saw a whole little cluster of ladybugs. I think they were eating aphids which is just what we want. And is there a bug more dear, more pretty? The red backs, the polka dots? I said the little rhyme I remembered from Mother Goose,

Ladybird, ladybird,
Fly away home,
Your house is on fire
And your children all gone;
All except one
And that’s little Ann,
And she has crept under
The warming pan.

They didn’t budge but continued to huddle together on the leaves of the Lark Ascending, on the leaves of the American Pillar later when I looked. I was born on a Thursday, I have far to go, all the way to Gibsons later this morning, and I hope the ladybugs will keep my house safe from fire, safe from sorrow, and all the children who’ve gone away will come again.

supper roses

2 thoughts on ““Thursday’s bairn has far to go” (Mother Goose)”

  1. Interesting, Theresa. I think you have already gone far, with all you’ve accomplished in life and work. Just did some Googling too. I’m Tuesday – full of grace – well, not sure about that, but it’s better than Wednesday for sure. Sam was born on Saturday and certainly does work hard. But Anna, a Sunday child, is at the moment good, for sure, but bonny, blithe, and gay, very far from it. She used to be, before the weight of the world descended on her. Perhaps her blitheness will return one day.

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