Fun Fact of the Day: “Contrary” is one way to describe a murderous psychopath. This popular English nursery rhyme, which reads like a solicitation for gardening advice, is actually a recounting of the homicidal nature of Queen Mary I of England, a.k.a. Bloody Mary. A fierce believer in Catholicism, her reign as queen—from 1553 to 1558—was marked by the execution of hundreds of Protestants. (Silver bells and cockle shells are torture devices, not garden accouterments.)
On this Day in History in 1586: Sir Walter Raleigh brings first tobacco to England from Virginia.
Fun Fact o’ the Day: Originally trolls existed only in Skandinavia. England had goblins and many other creatures, but no trolls. The Norwegian word troll entered English only after the folkeeventyr (folk or fairy stories) by Asbjørnen og Moe had been translated (19th century). The 3 Billy Goats Gruff (De tre bukkene Bruse), for example, was a huge hit, and the Norwegian trolls went viral in Britain and the US!
On this Day in History in 1820: Royal Astronomical Society founded in England.