Richard "Mondegreen" Stands
Children who say the United State’s pledge of allegiance have a tendency to either not fully understand what they’re saying, or mispronounce the words as a sneaky act of subversion.
Here’s the correct version of the pledge:
"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
Now some variants.
From an old Reader’s Digest magazine:
"I pledge a lesson to the frog of the United States of America, and to the wee puppet for witches hands. One Asian, in the vestibule, with little tea and just rice for all."
From the book In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson written in 1986 by Bette Bao Lord. In it, her character Shirley says:
"I pledge a lesson to the frog of the United States of America, and to the wee puppet for witches’ hands. One Asian, in the vestibule, with little tea and just rice for all."
By the way, these earlier versions don’t mispronounce the phrase "under God" since that wasn’t added until 1954.
This is a current version I heard from my 11-year old son (who heard it from his 11-year old friend):
"I pledge a lesson to queen’s frag and her United States of Hysteria, and to the wee puppet for witch’s hands. One Asian, under dog, invisible, with little tea and just rice for all."
From a 1962 Hi and Lois cartoon by Mort Walker:
"I pledge a legion to the flag and to the public for Richard Stands, one naked individual with liver tea and justice for all."
It’s likely the fake pledge was passed
along just like this – via the kid to kid network.
The earliest reference I’ve found to the fake "Richard Stands" is in Coronet magazine from November, 1960. Richard is probably older.
These pledge of allegiance mistakes are called "mondegreens". A writer named Sylvia Wright coined the term in 1954 after realizing she misheard a Scottish ballad’s last line "And laid him on the green" as "Lady Mondegreen."
Another famous mondegreen might be the magical term "Hocus "Pocus". Some believe it’s either an accidental or deliberate corruption of the term "hoc est corpus meum" ("this is my body") which is used in the Catholic religious mass.
I also found this one in Matt Groening’s cartoon Life in Hell:
I pledge impertinence to the flagwaving
of the unindicted co-conspirators of America
and to the Republicans for which I can’t stand
one abomination, underhanded fraud
with liberty and justice forget it.
– Jon Carroll and mondegreens, SFGate>>
– Spoonerisms, Mondegreens, Eggcorns, and Malapropisms, Grammar Girl>>– The Best of Hi and Lois by Mort Walker >>
– Coronet Magazine, 1960>>
– In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Lord>>
– Malapropism, Dictionary Reference>>
– Mondegreen – Wikipedia>>
– Mondegreen – Harpers>>