“..the most famous origin-story involving ‘Ring-a-Ring o’ Roses’ is that the rhyme refers to the Great Plague, specifically the one of the seventeenth century that devastated London in 1665 and prompted the inhabitants of the infected Derbyshire village of Eyam to isolate themselves from the rest of the country, so as to minimise the spread of the disease. This interpretation of the rhyme sees the ‘ring-a-ring o’ roses’ representing the red marks or lesions – which, in this interpretation, show up like ‘rings’ on the skin – which are (again, supposedly) associated with the symptoms of bubonic plague. The posies in the pocket are the herbs and flowers people carried to ward off the disease (because until relatively recently people believed that disease was caused by smell). Similarly the ‘a-tishoo!’ is a symptom of plague, since victims supposedly sneezed when in the grip of the disease. Finally, of course, the falling down represents the death of the plague victim.”Bless you !