When you rotate a map of England to the right ninety degrees, it looks vaguely like a ragged old shoe. Could this be a clue to the political meaning behind the nursery rhyme “The Little Old Woman who Lived in a Shoe?”
Some historians believe the “Old Woman” is Great Britain’s King George II. He’s the fellow who started the 18th century craze for men wearing white powdered wigs, possibly giving rise to the Old Woman moniker. Apparently he was met with a good deal of insubordination while serving as sovereign and, like the elderly mother in the rhyme, had a crisis of planning when it came to his “children.”
There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.
She had so many children, she didn't know what to do;
She gave them some broth without any bread;
Then whipped them all soundly and put them to bed.
Some think “children” refers to parliament. We prefer the interpretation that points to the global empire of colonies under British rule. Could George II’s haughty mistreatment of his colonial possessions have been one of the root causes of the rebellion that occurred at the end of the century under his grandson, George III?
No one knows for sure who’s who in the nursery rhyme, but what is certain is this: Whether you’re ruling an empire or running a business, you need to plan carefully with the best information available.