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Six little mice they lived in the wood / Six little mice so pretty and good | 20-Feb-13

Enquirer is trying to find the author of a poem their grandmother learnt at school around 100 years ago. Different variations exist but a version published in an American newspaper in 1913 begins and ends as follows:

First verse:
Six little mice they lived in the wood
Six little mice so pretty and good
Their tails were long, and their eyes shone bright
And they loved to frisk in the clear moonlight...

Last verse:
He carried them off, that owl so brown,
And their poor little tails hung dangling down
Away they scampered, those frightened four,
But two little mice will come home no more,
And the owls brown babies up in the tree
Had mouse for dinner and mouse for tea

The enquirer's grandmother used to recite this additional final verse:
As I sat on the chair by her knee,
This is the tale my granny told me
Of six little mouses, no, mice it should be,
And the fluffy brown owl in the old elm tree.

7 comments have been made on this quote. Click here to read them and then add your own!


Do you know this poem? Do you have any clues to help us find it?


Comments:

SIX LITTLE MICE

Six little mice they lived in a wood,
Six little mice so pretty and good,
Their tails were long and their eyes were bright
And they loved to frisk in the clear moonlight

Old Mother Mousy she shook her head:
"My dears, you're safer by far in bed;
Now trust you're Mother, she's old and wise,
And she fears the owl with the big brown eyes."

The six little mice all looked sedate
And declared they'd never stay out too late.
But the very next time the moon shone bright
They forgot their promise and went out at night.

What a time they had! It was splendid fun
Hither and thither to skip and run.
Little they guessed that the big brown owl
Was coming that way on his nightly prowl.

He pounced on one, he pounced on two,
With aloud too-whit and a hoarse too-whoo.
He carried them off, that owl so brown,
And their poor little tails hung dangling down.

Away they scampered, a frightened four,
But two little mice will come home no more;
And the owl's brown babies up in the tree
Had mouse for dinner and mouse for tea.

Anon

This little poem came from the Children's Encyclopedia 1933 by Arthur Mee.
Found on Diddily Dot's Dreamland for Children Everywhere

Tina Rath

Just to clarify, Arthur Mee was the orginiator/editor of the encyclopedia not the author of the poem.
Poetry Library

My mother used to recite this to us when I was little ....and then she did the same when my children were small....much to my shuddering horror!
caroline swan

A lovely poem and always thoroughly enjoyed by children. I was a school teacher from the 1950s to 1990s and always included it in the poems we learnt or studied in class. The wording and rhyming are very catchy and it is a good poem for children to act out.
I can't recall how I first came across it but I am glad I did as it gave so much pleasure. I was interested to note that it originated in Arthur Mee's 1933 Children's Encyclopedia. My grandchildren have all grown up familiar with it and I feel sure it will be carried on. Mine is the six verse version and I was unaware of the final additional verse. Kind regards.
Euan Ross

My Nanna also used to tell us this poem when my coudsins and I were little. She wrote it out for me before she died 14 years ago.
it has additional verses at the start.

As I sat on a little low stool at her knee
This is the tale my granny told me
Of six little mouses, no mice it shall be
And the fluffy brown owl in the old elm tree

Six little mice they lived in a wood,
Six little mice so pretty and good,
Their tails were ling and their eyes were bright,
And they loved to frisk in the pale moonlight.

But old Mrs Mousy she shook her head,
My dears, you?re safer by far in bed.
Now trust your mother she is old and wise
And fears the owl with its big brown eyes

The six little mice all looked sedate
And declared they would never stay out so late.
But the very next night, that the moon shone bright,
They forgot, they did and stole out at night.

What a game they had, it was famous fun
Hither and thither they skip and run
Little they thought of the big brown owl
Flying that way, on his midnight prowl.

He pounced on one, he pounced on two
With a loud Tttwit and a hoarse Ttwooo
He carried them off that owl so brown
Their poor little tails hung dangling down
Away they scampered the frightened four
But two little mice will come home no more.
The big brown owl up in the tree
Had mouse for dinner and mouse for tea.



cathy Mueller

Old mother mouse shook her head,
my dears your safer by far in bed.

You trust your mother she's old and wise
and she's frighted of the owl with the big brown eyes.

Six little mice all sat up straight.
N H

Cathy Mueller's version is word for word exactly the one my Granny told me, apart from the second last line. My Granny always said "The owl's brown babies up in the tree, had mouse for supper and mouse for tea." She always had an audience of several grandchildren, and grabbed a little arm on one side as "he pounced on one" and one on the other as "he pounced on two".
Flora Pierce


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