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Charlotte Bleh’s Collection of Favourite  Nursery  Rhymes, Poems and Prose Book
Animal Life


Times and Rhymes for Animal Life

This is the way the ladies ride –
Diddle, diddle, dee.
This is the way the ladies ride –
Diddle, diddle, dee.

This is the way the gentlemen ride -
Diddle, diddle trot.  Diddle, diddle, trot.
This is the way the gentlemen ride -
Diddle, diddle trot.  Diddle diddle trot.

This is the way the farmers ride -
Diddley, diddley dump.  Diddley diddley dump.
This is the way the farmers ride -
Diddley diddley dump.  Diddley, diddley dump.

(A bouncing rhyme to the rhythm of the words, and a gentle drop at the end)


Baa!  Baa!  Black Sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes, sir!  No, sir!
Three bags full!
One for my Master,
And one for my Dame,
And one for the Little Boy
Who lives down the lane.


One to make ready,
And two to prepare;
Good luck to the rider,
And away goes the mare.

One for the money,
And two for the show;
Three to make ready,
And four to go.


Old Mother Goose,
When she wanted to wander,
Would ride through the air
On a very fine gander.

Mother Goose had a house,
Twas built in a wood,
An owl at the door
For a porter stood.

She had a son Jack,
A plain-looking lad,
He was not very good,
Nor yet very bad.

She sent him to market,
A live goose he bought:
“Here, Mother,” says he,
“It will not go for nought.”

Jack’s goose and her gander
Grew very fond;
They’d both eat together
Or swim in one pond.

Jack found one morning
As I have been told
His goose had laid him
An egg of pure gold.

Jack rode to his mother
The news for to tell.
She called him a good boy,
And said it was well.

Jack sold his gold egg
To a rascally knave;
Not half of its value
To poor Jack he gave.

Then Jack went courting
A lady so gay,
As fair as a lily,
As sweet as the may.

The knave and the squire
Came up at his back,
And began to belabour
The sides of poor Jack.

But Old Mother Goose
That instant came in,
And turned her son Jack
Into famed Harlequin.

She then with her wand
Touched the lady so fine,
And turned her at once
Into sweet Columbine

The gold egg in the sea
Was thrown away then,
When Jack he jumped in
And got it again.

And Old Mother Goose 
The goose saddled soon,
And mounting his back,
Flew up to the moon.


A farmer went trotting upon his old mare.,
Bumpety, bumpety bump!
He took his daughter, so rosy and fair,
Lumpety, lumpety lump!

A raven cried “Croak,” and they all tumbled down,
Bumpety, bumpety bump!
The mare broke her knees and the farmer his crown,
Lumpety, lumpety lump!

The naughty black raven flew laughing away
Bumpety, bumpety bump!
And vowed he would do this again the next day,
Lumpety, lumpety lump!

(This is a fun baby bouncing rhyme)


The eency, weency spider
Climbed up the water spout.
Down came the rain,
And washed the spider out.
Out came the sun,
And dried up all the rain,
And the eency, weency spider
Climbed up the spout again.

(Ask me to tell you the true story about King
Robert the Bruce of Scotland the the spider that
this nursery rhyme is based upon.)


Higgledy, piggledy, my black hen,
She lays eggs for gentlemen.
Gentlemen come every day,
To see what my black hen doth lay,
Sometimes nine, and sometimes ten,
Higgledy, piggledy, my black hen.


Cock a doodle-do.
My dame has lost her shoe.
My master’s lost his fiddlestick,
And doesn’t know what to do.

Cock a doodle-do.
What is my dame to do?
Till master finds his fiddlestick,
She’ll dance without her shoe.


To market!  To market,
To buy a fat pig!
Home again!  Home again,
Jiggety, jig!

To market!  To market,
To buy a fat hog!
Home again! Home again,
Jiggety jog!

To market!  To market,
With our bonnie wee bairn!
Home again!  Home again,
Jiggety jairn!

(John and I would name animals or say the children’s names
and rhyme the last line to that on our way home in the car from the shops.)


Shoe the little horsie,
Shoe the little mare –
But let the bonnie barnie go,
Bare, Bare, Bare!

(I learned this little toe and foot rhyme from my mother.)


This bonnie maid is grown so fine.
She won’t get up to feed the swine,
But lies in bed till eight or nine
This bonnie, bonnie maid.


This little piggy went to market,
This little piggy stayed home.
This little piggy had roast beef,
And this little piggy had none.
But this little piggy went
Wee, wee, wee, all the way home!


Three blind mice!  Three blind mice!
See how they run!  See how they run!
They all ran after the farmer’s wife,
She cut off their tails with a carving knife,
Did you ever see such a sight in your life
As three blind mice!


Birds of a feather will flock together,
And so will pigs and swine.
Rats and mice will have their choice,
And so will I have mine.


The cock doth crow
To let you know
If you be wise,
Tis time to rise!


Three young rats with black felt hats,
Three young ducks with white straw flats,
Three young dogs with curling tails,
Three young cats with demi-veils,
Went out to walk with two young pigs
In satin vests and sorrel wigs.
But suddenly it chanced to rain
And so they all went home again.


1, 2, 3, 4, 5!
I caught a hare alive;
6, 7, 8, 9, 10!
I let him go again.


Fuzzie Wuzzie was a bear;
Fuzzie Wuzzie had no hair.
Fuzzie Wuzzie wuzn’t fuzzie –
Wuzz ‘e?


Who killed Cock Robin?
“I,” said the Sparrow,
“With my bow and arrow,
I killed Cock Robin”

Who saw him die?
“I,” said the Fly,
“With my little eye,
I saw him die.”

Who caught his blood?
“I,” said the Fish,
“With my little dish,
I caught his blood.”

Who’ll make the shroud?
“I,” said the Beetle,
“With my thread and needle,
I’ll make the shroud.”

Who’ll dig his grave?
“I,” said the Owl,
“With my pick and shovel,
I’ll dig his grave.”

Who’ll be the Parson?
“I,” said the Rook,
“With my little book,
I’ll be the Parson.”

Who’ll be the Clerk?
“I,” said the Lark,
“If it’s not in the dark,
I’ll be the Clerk.”

Who’ll carry the Link?
“I,” said the Linnet,
“I’ll fetch it in a minute.
I’ll carry the Link.”

Who’ll be the Chief Mourner?
“I,” said the Dove.
“I’ll mourn for my love.
I’ll be the Chief Mourner.”

“Who’ll carry the Coffin?
“I,” said the Kit,
“If it’s not through the night,
I’ll carry the Coffin.”

Who’ll bear the pall?
“We,” said the Wren,
“Both the Cock and the Hen,
We’ll bear the pall.”

Who’ll sing a Psalm?
“I,” said the Thrush,
As she sat on a bush,
“I’ll sing a Psalm.”

Who’ll toll the Bell?
“I,” said the Bull,
“Because I can pull,
I’ll toll the Bell.”

And all the birds of the air
Fell a-sighing and a-sobbing
When they heard the bell toll
For poor Cock Robin.


(Now, the previous nursery rhyme about poor Cock Robin is all very sweet – but, as a child, I much preferred The Wee Cock Sparra, that I remember Duncan MacRae (who died in 1967) performing at the Palace Theater – this was my mother’s favourite, too.  See if you can recite as well as understand this)

A wee cock sparra sat on a tree,
A wee cock sparra sat on a tree,
A wee cock sparra sat on a tree
Chirpin’ awa’ as blithe as could be.

Alang cam a lad wi' a bow and an arra,
Alang cam a lad wi’ a bow and an arra,
Alang cam a lad wi’ a bow and an arra
And he said, “I’ll get ye, ye wee cock sparra.”

The lad wi’ the arra let flee at the sparra,
The lad wi' the arra let flee at the sparra,
The lad wi' the arra let flee at the sparra
And he hit a man that was hurlin' a barra.

The man wi’ the barra cam ower wi’ the arra,
The man wi’ the barra cam ower wi’ the arra,
The man wi’ the barra cam ower wi’ the arra
And said: “Ye tak me for a wee cock sparra?”

The man hit the lad. tho’ he wasnae his farra,
The man hit the lad, tho’ he wasnae his farra,
The man hit the lad, tho’ he wasnae his farra
And the lad stood and glowered; he was hurt tae the marra.

And a’ this time, the wee cock sparra,
And a’ this time, the wee cock sparra,
And a’ this time, the wee cock sparra
Was chirpin’ awa’ on the shank o' the barra.

(A good time to recite this would be Hogmanay, in memory of
Duncan MacRae who would recite it on Scottish radio New Year’s Eve programs)


My dear, do you know,
How a long time ago,
Two poor little children,
Whose names I don’t know,
Were stolen away
On a fine summer’s day,
And left in a wood,
As I’ve heard people say.
Poor babes in the wood!  Poor babes in the wood!
Oh!  Don’t you remember the babes in the wood?

And when it was night,
So sad was their plight,
The sun it went down,
And the moon gave no light!
And they bitterly cried,
And the poor little things,
They lay down and died.
Poor babes in the wood!  Poor babes in the wood!
Oh!  Don’t you remember the babes in the wood?

And when they were dead,
The robins so red
Brought strawberry leaves,
And over them spread;
And all the day long,
The branches among,
They mournfully whistled,
And this was their song:
Poor babes in the wood!  Poor babes in the wood!
Oh!  Don’t you remember the babes in the wood?

(This is for my friend at work, Bernadette, who was born and raised in England. When I showed Bernadette my first bound copy of this little book, she asked me if I knew “the one about the babes in the wood.”  I told her I did, but didn’t put it in the book because it was so sad.  Bernadette told me this was her favourite nursery rhyme and she thought it was so beautiful that she would recite it to her children every night before they went to bed – I teased her that it’s no wonder the English are so messed up if their mothers had to terrify them to sleep like this!  Anyhow, Bernadette and I got to talking about my favourite nursery rhyme book by Marguerite de Angeli and I told her how there is this lovely black and white etching of those poor dear babes in the wood for this rhyme – turns out Bernadette had this same book for her family, but unfortunately lost it somewhere over the years.  I’m taking my copy into work today (November 14 – the day after what would have been our 38th wedding anniversary) to reminisce with her some more.


Three craws sat upon a wa’,
Sat upon a wa’,
Sat upon a wa’,
Three craws sat upon a wa’
On a cold and frosty morning.

The first craw was greetin’ for his ma’,
Greetin’ for his ma’,
Greetin’ for his ma’;
The first craw was greetin’ for his ma’
On a cold and frosty morning.

The second craw didna’ ha’e a ma’,
Didna’ ha’e a ma’,
Didna’ ha’e a ma’;
The second craw didna’ ha’e a ma’
On a cold and frosty morning.

The third craw ate the ither twa,
Ate the ither twa,
Ate the ither twa;
The third craw ate the ither twa
On a cold and frosty morning.

The fourth craw wasna’ there at a’,
Wasna’ there at a’,
Wasna there at a’;
The fourth craw wasna’ there at a’
On a cold and frosty morning.

(The kind of birds we have in Scotland – can
you imagine them covering up the poor little babes
in the woods?  This is probably why my Granny would say,
“The English are soft.”)

The moon has a face like the clock in the hall;
She shines on thieves on the garden wall,
On streets and fields and harbour quays,
And birdies asleep in the forks of the trees.

The squalling cat and the squeaking mouse,
The howling dog by the door of the house,
The bat that lies in bed at noon,
All love to be out by the light of the moon.

But all of the things that belong to the day
Cuddle to sleep to be out of her way;
And flowers and children close their eyes
Til up in the morning the sun shall arise.

Robert Louis Stevenson
A Child’s Garden of Verse


Katie Bairdie had a coo,
Black and white about the moo –
Wasnae that a dainty coo?
Dance, Katie Bairdie.

Katie Bairdie had a grice,
That could skate upon the ice.
Wasnae that a dainty grice?
Dance, Katie Bairdie.

Katie Bairdie had a hen,
Cackled but and cackled ben.
Wasnae that a dainty hen?
Dance, Katie Bairdie.

Katie Bairdie had a cat,
Sleek and sly and unco’ fat.
Wasnae that a dainty cat?
Dance, Katie Barirdie.

Katie Bairdie had a wean,
Widnae play oot in the rain.
Wasnae that a danty wean?
Dance, Katie Beardie.

(An old Scottish song we sang in school;  we added
a few rude verses - it’s too bad I can’t remember any!)


Three jolly gentlemen,
In coats of red,
Rode their horses
Up to bed.

Three jolly gentlemen
Snored till morn,
Their horses champing
The golden corn.

Three jolly gentlemen
At break of day,
Came clitter-clatter down the stairs
And galloped away.

Walter de la Mare


When I was young I used to wait
On Master and hand him his plate,
And passed the bottle when he got dry,
And brushed away the blue-tail fly!

Oh, Jimmie crack corn, and I don’t care;
Jimmie crack corn, and I don’t care;
Jimmie crack corn and I don’t care –
The Master’s gone away.

One day he rode around the farm,
The flies so numerous they did swarm;
One chanced to bite him on the thigh –
The devil take the blue tail fly!

The pony ran, the jumped, he pitched;
He threw the Master in the ditch.
He died, and the jury wondered why -
The verdict was the blue-tail fly!

The laid him under a persimmon tree;
His epitaph is there to see -
“Beneath this stone I’m forced to lie, –
A victim of the blue-tail fly.”

(My mother took me to the Palace Theater every Monday night
on my Granny’s passes; and I remember only once going to a concert
at the Caird Hall.  We had front row seats, and I don’t know if they were
passes or not, but the singer was Burl Ives.  I remember only one song of this
big bearded man, with a great booming voice, sitting so comfortably on the stage,
strumming a guitar and  singing about a Jimmie cracking corn.)


Thistle and darnell and dock grew there,
And a bush, in the corner, of may,
On the orchard wall I used to sprawl
In the blazing heat of the day;
Half asleep and half awake,
While the birds went twittering by,
And nobody there my lone to share
But Nicholas Nye.

Nicholas Nye was lean and gray,
Lame of leg and old,
More than a score of donkey’s years
He had been since he was foaled;
He munched the thistles, purple and spiked,
Would sometimes stoop and sigh,
And turn to his head, as if he said,
“Poor Nicholas Nye!”

Alone with his shadow he’d drowse in the meadow,
Lazily swinging his tail,
At break of day he used to bray –
Not much too hearty and hale;
But a wonderful gumption was under his skin,
And a clean calm light in his eye
And once in a while; he’d smile –
Would Nicholas Nye.

Seem to be smiling at me, he would
From his bush in the corner, of may –
Bony and ownerless, widowed and worn,
Knobble-kneed, lonely and gray;
And over the grass would seem to pass
‘Neath the deep dark blue of the sky,
Something much better than words between me
And Nicholas Nye.

But dusk would come in the apple boughs,
The green of the glow-worm shine,
The birds in nest would crouch to rest,
And home I’d trudge to mine;
And there, in the moonlight, dark with dew,
Asking not wherefore nor why,
Would brood like a ghost, and as still as a post,
Old Nicholas Nye.

Walter de la Mare

(This was my audition recitation for elecution/speech and drama school when I was nine years old.)


The auld broon troot lay unner a stane,
Unner a stane lay he,
An’ he thocht o’ the wind an’ he thocht o’ the rain,
An’ the troot he uist tae be.
“Ah’m a gey auld troot,” said he to himsel’;
“A gey auld troot,” said he.
“An’ there’s mony a queer-like tale I could tell
O’ the things that ha’e happened to me.
Thae wee-hafflin’ trooties are a’ verra smert,
They’re a verry smert, “ said he.
“Oh, they ken a’ the rules
O’ the gem aff by heart!
An’ they’re no’ often catched, Ah’ll agree.
They’re thinkin’ Ah’m auld,
An’ they’re thinkin’ Ah’m dune,
They’re thinkin’ I’m dune,” said he.
“They’re thinkin’ I’m no’ worth the flirt o’ a fin,
Or the blink o’ a bonny black e’e.
But Ah’m safe and Ah’m snug in ma bonnie we neuk,
Ah’m safe and Ah’m snug,” said he.
“Ah’m the big fish that nae fisher could heuk,
An’ Ah’ll aye be that – till ah dee!”

(A competition piece that my mother loved to hear me recite.)


Oh, I’m being eaten
By a boa constrictor,
A boa constrictor,
A boa constrictor,
I’m being eaten by a boa constrictor,
And I don’t like it – one bit.
Well, what do you know?
It’s nibblin’ my toe.
Oh, gee,
It’s up to my knee.
Oh, my,
It’s up to my thigh.
Oh, fiddle,
It’s up to my middle.
Oh, heck,
It’s up to my neck.
Oh, dread,
It’s up mmmmmmmmmmffffffffff . . .

Shel Silverstein  Where the Sidewalk Ends

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