An Academic Analysis of Nursery Rhymes


Part 1 – “Hey Diddle Diddle”


Hey, diddle, diddle,
The cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the moon;
The little dog laughed
To see such sport,

And the dish ran away with the spoon.

According to, the number one translation of the word diddle is to cheat someone (Don’t get me started on what the urban dictionary says). It is puzzling why the subject of a nursery rhyme is someone as lowly as this character.

At first glance, it will appear that Charlie Schimdt’s cat is capable of playing the keyboard, however, if you look closely and pause the video at the right time, you can see that under the cat’s shirt are Charlie’s hands, which are actually guiding his cat to press down on the proper keys. Even had this cat (or any cat) been capable of playing the keyboard, it doesn’t necessarily imply that a cat is capable of playing the fiddle. On April 11, 2017, WatchMojo released a video entitled “Top 10 Hardest Instruments to Learn,” and ranked the violin (aka. fiddle) as the most difficult instrument to play. Based on these findings, it is highly unlikely that there ever was a cat that was capable of playing the fiddle.

Although I have never seen a cow move more than a few inches off the ground, it has been reported that a cow can actually jump up to six feet in the air. Even though that is most impressive, the moon is a whopping 238,900 miles away from us on Earth. That not all, because it was said that the cow jumped OVER the moon, and didn’t just jump to the moon. According to, the moon has a diameter of 2,152.9 miles, which shows that in order for the cow to jump over the moon, he would have had to jump 241,052 miles, or 1.272755e+9 feet (that is not a typo). With this information, a cow’s impressive six foot jump is no match for clearing the moon.

Aside from the fact that I don’t know what is so humorous about a cow jumping over the moon, there is a great debate as to whether a dog is capable of laughing. Most animal behaviorists tend to conclude that in fact a dog is incapable of laughing, which would be another point about the fallacy of this rhyme.

I don’t have much scientific knowledge about dishes talking other than my detailed study of Beauty and the Beast. The phrase “the dish ran away with the spoon” seems to imply that this is some sort of love affair, where the dish was meant for someone else. I don’t know if they went to Vegas, or Hawaii, and I also would be eager to know whether the dish was meant for the cup, fork or knife. This and other mysteries are what have kept me up at night for years, and I don’t know if I will ever be able to resolve these queries.

We now see that “Hey Diddle Diddle” is not as cute and playful as the tune seems to imply, and it is filled with unscientific fallacious statements that are utterly preposterous.

Try not thinking about this the next time you sing this nursery rhyme.

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