EZiD’s version of the Three Blind Mice
The rhyme as we know it was published in 1842 by James Orchard Halliwell. Some years later (maybe around 1900) an illustrated children’s book by John W. Ivimey with the title The Complete Version of Ye Three Blind Mice was also published, here is the link to the book. And the famous words are:
Three blind mice. Three blind mice.
See how they run. See how they run.
They all ran after the farmer’s wife,
Who cut off their tails with a carving knife,
Did you ever see such a sight in your life,
As three blind mice?
This version turns the mice into mischievous characters who seek adventure, eventually being taken in by a farmer whose wife chases them from the house and into a bramble bush, which blinds them. Soon after, their tails are removed by the farmers’ wife using a modern translation of lines from the original verse. The story ends with them using a tonic to grow new tails and recover their eyesight, learning a trade (making wood chips, according to one illustration in Ivimey’s book), buying a house and living happily ever after.
While the words to the rhyme have not been changed since Halliwell’s book was published, the tune has been used and adapted by a number of composers. Even James Bond has had an impact on the rhyme as the soundtrack for the 1962 film Dr. No features “Kingston Calypso”, a calypso version of “Three Blind Mice” with new lyrics that reference the three villainous characters in the film. And the Three Stooges used a jazz interpretation of Three Blind Mice as the theme song for their comedic short films.
The rhyme has even found its way into sport. Basketball and hockey have three referees and the term “Three Blind Mice” is sometimes used as a derogatory expression for their poor performance.