Hole He Goes
While walking along the sidewalk in front of his church, our minister heard the intoning of a prayer that nearly made his collar wilt. Apparently, his five-year-old son and his playmates had found a dead robin. Feeling that proper burial should be performed, they had secured a small box and cotton batting, then dug a hole and made ready for the disposal of the deceased. The minister's son was chosen to say the appropriate prayers and with sonorous dignity intoned his version of what he thought his father always said: "Glory be unto the Faaaather..and unto the Sonnnn.......and into the hole he gooooes." -- author unattributed. The mistaken parsing words of a song or phrase, for something else very different that sounds the same, is called a "Mondegreen". Kids are very good at inventing Mondegreens because they don't have the context of experience. "The father, the son and the hole he goes" is a perfect example, and the very name "mondegreen" is one also.
The Beatles' and Beach Boys' were a rich source of mondegreens. Was this because of the way they sang, or because they issued so many songs? Columnist Jon Carroll of the SF Chronicle occasionally devotes a column to this, one of his favorite subjects. For more information on this topic, Carroll has created what amounts to a Mondegreen World Headquarters. Visit his site at: