Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Dumpling Kaiser #3: Jack And Jill

The giant head of Dumpling Kaiser

stared down at me. Her cheeks, round and full,

so much like the cheeks of Britney Spears,

made her bright eyes appear to smile but

her lips were straight, tight. She said, “Tell me:

What do you know about Jack and Jill?”

I did smile. I said, “They went uphill

to fetch water. But they both fell down.”

Dumpling Kaiser asked, “Do you know where

the nursery rhyme comes from? What it means?”

I shrugged. “Somewhere in Europe,” I guessed.

“I don’t know that it means anything.”

Dumpling Kaiser said, “It’s been around

more than four hundred years. Do you think

something that means nothing could persist

all around the globe for centuries?”

“When you put it like that,” I said, “no.”

Dumpling Kaiser asked, “What is a well?”

“You dig a hole for water,” I said.

“You dig a hole,” Dumpling Kaiser said.

“A hole in the ground to get water.

If you’re digging down to tap into

an aquifer, would anyone start

on a hill? Would you dig on a hill?”

“I’m a city person,” I said, “but

I don’t think people dig wells on hills.”

“But,” Dumpling Kaiser said, “Jack and Jill

went up the hill. They went up the hill.

And why? To fetch a pail of water.

Even you as a city person

know you don’t find a well on a hill.

You must have recited this stanza

hundreds of times. Did you ever think:

No one would go up a hill to fetch

a pail of water? Did you wonder

why people say this strange nursery rhyme?”

I frowned. “It never occurred to me

there was anything strange about it.

Of course, once you point out the weirdness

the weirdness seems bluntly obvious.

And it seems almost equally strange

that the stanza never puzzled me.”

“What do you think?” Dumpling Kaiser asked.

“Can something that means nothing persist

all around the globe for centuries?”

I said, “No.” Dumpling Kaiser nodded.

“What do you think,” Dumpling Kaiser asked,

this Jack and Jill business really means?”

I said, “I don’t even have a guess.

But I’ll be thinking about it now.”

(Tomorrow: Dumpling Kaiser #4: Clouds)

1 comment:

Angeline said...

These Dumpling Kaiser tales are interesting, though the idea of Britney Spears scares me--or anything of her semblance. I am baffled as to why Jack and Jill had to climb to the top of the hill to get water. Maybe they had to climb up it to get past the hill to get the water from the well on the other side of the hill. Oh, well, this will give me something to think about during my graduation ceremony tonight.

I anticipate tomorrow's entry--especially because it has to do with clouds. I got all excited.