the young Peter Punkineeter

This 2 x 2 inch print appears over the rhyme in the book.

"Mrs. Punkineeter (ret.)" © wood engraving (ed. 35) image: 3 x 4 in. $60.00 (go to "Hi There" for purchase information)

Here's another familiar rhyme, with a second verse nobody read to me when I was in the nursery. We don't realize in the first verse that Peter is illiterate when he shoves his first wife into a pumpkin shell. Literacy is given credit for his improved relationship with his second wife and the end of his abusive behaviour. The fate of wife number one, poor dear, can only be guessed.

 

THE PUMPKIN EATER

Peter, Peter, pumpkin-eater,

Had a wife and 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.

 

Back to Mother Goose