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Tinker Tailor Rhyme

The movie adaptation of John le Carré‘s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is as gripping as the book.
The title is based in a popular rhyme.  (Excerpt from Wiki.)
“Tinker Tailor” is a counting gamenursery rhyme and fortune telling song traditionally played in England, that can be used to count cherry stones, buttons, daisy petals and other items. Its American version is commonly used by children for “counting out,” e.g. for choosing who shall be “It” in a game of tag.
(Tinker Tailor can be used as an aid for word-building, unlike inky-pinky-ponky.)

The most common modern version is:

Soldier, Sailor, 
Rich Man, Poor Man,
Beggar Man, Thief.

The most common American version is:

Rich Man, Poor Man,
Beggar Man, Thief,
Doctor, Lawyer, (or “Merchant”)
Indian Chief.
A. A. Milne‘s Now We are Six (1927) had the following version of “Cherry stones”:

Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor, rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief,
Or Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor, rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief, doctor, lawyer, Indian chief.
Or what about a cowboy, policeman, jailer, engine driver, or a pirate chief?
Or what about a ploughman or a keeper at the zoo,
Or what about a circus man who lets the people through?
Or the man who takes the pennies on the roundabouts and swings,
Or the man who plays the organ or the other man who sings?
Or What about the rabbit man with rabbits in his pockets? 
And what about a rocket man who’s always making rockets? 
Oh it’s such a lot of things there are and such a lot to be 
That there’s always lots of cherries on my little cherry tree. 
The tinker, tailor is one part of a longer counting or divination game, often played by young girls to foretell their futures; it runs as follows:
When shall I marry?

This year, next year, sometime, never.
What will my husband be?

Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor, rich-man, poor-man, beggar-man, thief.
What will I be? (Que sera sera?)

Lady, baby, gypsy, queen.
What shall I wear?

Silk, satin, cotton, rags (or silk, satin, velvet, lace)
How shall I get it?

Given, borrowed, bought, stolen.
How shall I get to church?

Coach, carriage, wheelbarrow, cart.
Where shall I live?

Big house, little house, pig-sty, barn.
How many children shall we have?
One, two, three, four, five, six, etc.

During the divination, the girl will ask a question and then count out a series of actions or objects by reciting the rhyme. The rhyme is repeated until the last of the series of objects or actions is reached. The last recited term or word is that which will come true. Buttons on a dress, petals on a flower, bounces of a ball, number of jumps over a rope, etc., may be counted.


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