Rhymes » There was a Crooked Man

There was a Crooked Man

This rhyme, ‘There was a Crooked Man’, gained popularity in the twentieth century, but it was already recorded in the 1840s by James Orchard Halliwell. The Scottish General, Sir Alexander Leslie is said to be the character portrayed as the crooked man in the rhyme. Sir Leslie signed a treaty that secured the religious and political freedom rights for Scotland. The reference of the crooked stile in the poem points to the border between Scotland and England. The English and the Scots had finally come to an agreement even though they were still in hostile terms with each other.

The line, ‘they lived together in a little crooked house’ refers to this fact that they lived with each other owing to their common border.

There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile.
He found a crooked sixpence upon a crooked stile.
He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse,
And they all lived together in a little crooked house.

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