The Great Debate: Is it Itsy Bitsy, or Inky Dinky, of Spider Fame?
My D. H. insists that the correct descriptive is "inky dinky," whereas I demur. I vaguely recollect from my own childhood, either hearing "itsy-bitsy spider," or even more familiar to me, the description "eency-weency," referring to said spider's miniscule size, yet plucky persistance, and how he (she?) braved the violent rainstorm which "washed it out" after the arduous climb up the water spout, yet doggedly climbed the spout again, after the sun came out and 'dried up all the rain.'
Many, if not most of our American nursery rhymes originated on the other side of the pond, in England, for obvious reasons: the American colonists were British in origin, and brought with them the culture and history of England, and also of some other countries in Europe (e.g., The Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales are of German origin). Often the nursery rhymes reflected history or taught a moral value. For example, Mother Goose herself dates back to the 16th century or earlier, when people (mainly women) were accused of being "witches." Frightening, devastating events that were not understood, were often attributed to "witchcraft." Old Mother Goose, flying on the back of a goose, alludes to that era.
But coming back to our spider song, it seems that in the U. K. and in Australia, the verse is some form of "eency-weency," and in the New World, especially the East Coast, it's "itsy-bitsy."
As far as "Inky-Dinky" goes, all I remember is a little ditty that I heard as a child, I'm, uh, a bit embarrassed to say. But for what it's worth, here it is:
Ball McCarty had a party,
All the kids were there...
Inky-Dinky left a stinky,
Blew him off the chair!And now, I have to give my D. H. credit for finding this video on YouTube, attesting to the fact that somebody, somewhere, did use the term "inky-dinky spider." It's kinda...catchy.