Little Jack Horner is a traditional English nursery rhyme that has been around for hundreds of years. The exact origins of the rhyme are unknown, but it is thought to be based on a real person named Jack Horner who lived in the 16th century. The rhyme is likely to have originated as a way of teaching children about humility, as Jack Horner is portrayed as a greedy and selfish person who is punished for his behavior.
The most common variation of the “Little Jack Horner” rhyme used in modern culture is the substitution of “mincemeat” for “Christmas”. This is linked to the interchangeable use of the terms “mince” or “mincemeat pie” with that of “Christmas pie” in Medieval England.
According to the Chadds Ford Historical Society, mincemeat is the traditional English Christmas pie. In medieval England, families would share the duties of preparing the mincemeat pie and exchanging pies with neighbors as gifts. The family that neglected to make a mincemeat pie would have committed a social faux pas.
Little Jack Horner Lyrics
Little Jack Horner
Sat in the corner,
Eating a Christmas pie;
He put in his thumb,
And pulled out a plum,
And said ‘What a good boy am I.