Little Miss Muffet
Sat on a tuffet,
Eating her curds and whey.
Along came a spider,
Who sat down beside her,
And frightened Miss Muffet away !
Akin to a lot of such rhymes, its beginning are uncertain. A few assert it was printed by Dr. Thomas Muffet, a 16th century English entomologist, for his step-daughters; others assert it refers to Mary, Queen of Scots, who was thought to have been scared by John Knox, a Scottish spiritual reformer in the 16th century. The last account is doubted by the majority literary scholars, who note that stories connecting folk tales or songs to political proceedings are a frequent urban legend.
A "tuffet" is a little stool, frequently three-legged and topped by means of a cushion, or a tuft of earth and grass. Or the last name "Muffet" may be a theatrical production on the expression "muffin", or merely made-up to rhyme with "tuffet". "Little Miss Muffet" is a nursery school rhyme. It first appeared in print in 1805, in a manuscript titled Songs for the Nursery school.