This nursery rhyme has always bugged me. "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?"
It seems there are more allegorical stories, references, songs, metaphors and iconic phrases dedicated to blindness than any other deficit. You don’t hear of deaf mice, mute mice, diabetic mice or mice with chronic IBS getting their own song.
How did this disturbing, slightly violent nursery rhyme and these three blind mice become so famous?
I googled it and here’s what I found.
Some claim the "three blind mice" are three Protestants executed by Queen Mary I of England, in the Catholicism and Protestantism conflict. It is about the Oxford Martyrs who were tried for heresy and burnt at the stake in 1555.
The "three blind mice" were Protestant loyalists (the Oxford Martyrs, Ridley, Latimer and Cranmer). The mice's "blindness" referred to their Protestant beliefs. The Catholic queen received a bad reputation during her short reign for executing Protestants. The farmer’s wife refers to Mary. The 'mice' are taken in by the farmer whose wife chases them from the house into a bramble bush, blinding them. Later, their tails are removed by the "butcher's wife."
So that made this little nursery rhyme ditty go from silly to serious.
It’s ironic that these Christ-following mice most likely had 20/20 spiritual vision and yet they are referred to as blind.
This violent act may have looked political but its roots are the 'same story, same verse, a little bit louder, a little bit worse' since before the beginning of time. This epic battle to discourage, squelch even snuff out God’s message and his messengers continues. These three blind mice, like many, stood and were counted - even killed for the cause of Christ.
"Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Matthew 5:10-12 (NIV)
Although I will always prefer 'Mary had a little Lamb,' I will never forget the story of these three blind mice. As I googled their story, I had no idea it would be even more disturbing than the nursery rhyme!
This morning as I was finishing writing, I was nudged to remember that there have been many who have lived, and paid a price for their sight.
They were perceived blind but were fully sighted. I suppose blind isn’t always as it seems - sometimes it’s faith!
Lord, thank you for those that have gone before us, living and giving us examples of a different kind of faith that sees those things that are unseen by others. Help us to see well in times of discomfort, insults and persecution. In Jesus’ Name, Amen