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Nursery Rhymes are traditional poems or songs featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time. They were created for young children in Britain, and many other countries.

In North America, the term "Mother Goose Rhymes", introduced in the mid-18th century, is still often used.

Featured Nursery Rhymes

Jack and Jill

"Jack and Jill", sometimes "Jack and Gill", is a traditional English nursery rhyme.

The first and most commonly repeated verse is:

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

Many verses have been added to the rhyme, including a version with a total of 15 stanzas in a chapbook of the 19th century. The second verse, probably added as part of these extensions has become a standard part of the nursery rhyme. Early versions took the form:

Up Jack got, and home did trot
As fast as he could caper;
To old Dame Dob, who patched his nob
With vinegar and brown paper.

By the early 20th century this had been modified in some collections, such as L. E. Walter's Mother Goose's Nursery Rhymes (London, 1919) to:

Up Jack got and home did trot,
As fast as he could caper;
And went to bed and bound his head
With vinegar and brown paper.

A third verse, sometimes added to the rhyme, was first recorded in a 19th-century chapbook and took the form:

Then Jill came in, and she did grin,
To see Jack's paper plaster;
Her mother whipt her, across her knee,
For laughing at Jack's disaster.

Twentieth-century versions of this verse include:

When Jill came in how she did grin
To see Jack's paper plaster;
Mother vexed did whip her next
For causing Jack's disaster.

Jack Sprat

"Jack Sprat", or "Jack Spratt", is an English language nursery rhyme.

The most common modern version of the rhyme is:

Jack Sprat could eat no fat.
His wife could eat no lean.
And so between them both, you see,
They licked the platter clean.

Little Bo Peep

"Little Bo Peep", also known as "Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep", is a popular English language nursery rhyme.

There are many variations to the rhyme. The most common modern version is:

Little Bo-Peep has lost her sheep,
And doesn't know where to find them;
Leave them alone, And they'll come home,
Wagging their tails behind them.

The following additional verses are often added to the rhyme:

Little and asleep,
And dreamt she heard them bleating;
But when she awoke, she found it a joke,
For they were still a-fleeting.
Then up she took her little crook,
Determined for to find them;
She found them indeed, but it made her heart bleed,
For they'd left their tails behind them.
It happened one day, as Bo-peep did stray
Into a meadow hard by,
There she espied their tails side by side,
All hung on a tree to dry.
She heaved a sigh and wiped her eye,
And over the hillocks went rambling,
And tried what she could, as a shepherdess should,
To tack each again to its lambkin.

Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater

"Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater" is an English language nursery rhyme.

The most common modern version is:

Peter, Peter pumpkin eater,
Had a wife but couldn't keep her;
He put her in a pumpkin shell
And there he kept her very well.
Peter, Peter pumpkin eater,
Had another and didn't love her;
Peter learned to read and spell,
And then he loved her very well.

Show Adaptation

  • Contrary to the naïve young girl in the rhyme, Bo Peep is depicted as a tyrannical warlord who extorts money from the shepherds living on her land, using the magical powers of her shepherd's crook to intimidate her enemies and force them into slavery if they fail to comply. This makes the people her "sheep".
  • When the first curse ended, Peter Peter opened a pumpkin stand, selling pumpkins and other vegetables. He liked to party, and the place caught the sheriff's attention due to many noise complaints. His business is still active after the second curse ended.

Characters Featured

Original Character Adapted as First Featured in
Bo Peep Bo Peep "White Out"
Bo Peep's sheep Bo Peep's sheep "White Out"
Peter Peter Peter Peter (mentioned) "Dreamcatcher"
Jack Sprat Skinny Man (allusion)[1] "Dreamy"
Jack Sprat's wife Mob Girl (allusion) "Dreamy"
Jack Jack "Changelings"
Jill Jill "Changelings"

Items Featured

Original Item Adapted as First Featured in
Shepherd crook Shepherd Crook "White Out"
Pumpkins Pumpkins "Dreamcatcher"



  1. "When Mary Margaret and Leroy are selling candles door to door, they come across a skinny man who's eating a carrot, and a fat lady is sitting with him. This is a nod to Jack Sprat and his wife from the nursery rhyme". Once Upon a Time - Behind the Magic - Page 66. London: Titan Books, October 2013.
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