Bedtime Stories: Jane as Mother to Nathan and Alec

Inevitably a Duchess Jessie Clever Spy Series NovellaIn the beginning of Inevitably a Duchess, we are given the treat of seeing Jane with Nathan and Alec as young boys.  And in this scene, Jane and the boys recite a bedtime chorus:

“Now then, boys, what time is it?” she asked once she was fully standing.
Alec shot up off the floor, a huge grin spreading from one side of his face to the other.
“Bed time!” he cried and made a running leap for his bed.
Nathan did the same, scrambling to get into bed, but Jane started speaking before the covers were fully pulled up to their chins.
“Little boys should be off to bed.”
“With covers thrown over their heads,” the boys chimed in response.
“And adventures they’ll find within their minds.”
“If only they go to bed!” they all finished in unison.

I’ve received some notes from readers regarding this scene, asking me if it was something my mother said to me.  Well, sorry, it wasn’t.  I had to make this one up on the spot, because the one my mother said to me wasn’t around until the 1900s.

When this scene popped into my head, I knew I had to use the chorus that my mom used with me and now uses with the grandchildren.  I find this one far better than the one I wrote, but alas, it wasn’t around in time for Jane to use it with the boys.  Tell me if you’ve heard of this one:

“To bed, to bed,” said Sleepyhead.

“Oh no, oh no,” said Moe.

“Put on the pot,” said Greedygut.  “We’ll eat before we go!”

See, the thing with my mother is I never know if she’s made something up or if she’s picked it up from somewhere.  I knew from this bedtime ritual that her father had said it to her, so I was fairly certain it had come from somewhere else.  A quick search on Google led me to this:

“Come, let’s to bed,”
Says Sleepy-head;
“Tarry a while,” says Slow.
Sleepyhead, Slow and Greedy
“Put on the pot,”
Says the Greedy one,
“Let’s sup before we go.”

-The Little Mother Goose, 1912

I can most definitely see how this nursery rhyme became the very short rendition my mom says with the grandkids these days, but it also reflects the strength of traditions passed from one generation to the next.  It was this transformation that pushed me to write something for Jane and the boys.  Jane struggles with not being able to be a mother to her own natural born children.  However, as seen throughout the book, Jane learns that she is, in fact, a mother in other ways.  This bedtime ritual solidifies her relationship with Richard’s sons and is an added element in her blossoming character.

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  1. This is how my grandmother said it to us:
    Let’s to bed, said Sleepy Head.
    Tarry awhile, said Slow.
    Put on the pot, said Greedy Gut.
    We’ll sup before we go.
    I think it must predate 1912.

    1. That’s awesome! When I was doing the research on that nursery rhyme, I found many variations of it, and it seemed to be greatly influenced by culture and ethnicity (which seems logical!). And yes, I would agree on the 1912 bit. There were so many variations of it, that it seemed much older. I wonder if 1912 was the first in mass print? Very interesting though!

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