“Fox and Hare (They've All Got a Mate But Me)”


The singer laments, "Six wives I've had and they're all dead," noting "Oh, the fox and the hare, the badger and the bear And the birds in the greenwood tree And the pretty little rabbits engaging in their habits Have all got a mate but me."

Supplemental text

Fox and Hare (They've All Got a Mate But Me)
  Complete text(s)

          *** A ***

The Tottenham Toad

From Cecil J. Sharp and Maud Karpeles, English Folk Songs from the
Southern Appalachians, Volume 2, #239, p. 347. Collected from Mrs.
Frances Richards of Callaway, Virginia, 1918.

The Tottenham toad came trotting up the road
With his feet all swimming in the sea
Pretty little squirrel with her tail in curl
They've all got a wife but me.

I married me a wife to join my life
She soon wished I were dead
In about six weeks we had a little quarrel
And she pulled all the hair out of my head.


Flanders and Brown claim this is from the romance of Reynard the Fox. If so, it's evolved a bit in the course of half a millennium.

The versions in fact are very diverse, and probably include material inherited from multiple sources. The key line is the one about "They all have a wife/mate but me." Mentions of six wives or six weeks of quarrelling with a single wife are also common. - RBW


  1. Flanders/Brown, p. 121, "Fox and Hare" (1 fragment, 1 tune)
  2. Scarborough-NegroFS, p. 205, "Dey All Got a Mate But Me" (1 fragment, 1 tune, probably this though it consists of little more than the "they've all got a mate but me" lines)
  3. BrownIII 172, "The Weasel and the Rat" (1 fragment, so similar in form that I file it here though it omits the mention of a mate: "Weasel and the rat, Mosquito and the cat, Chicken and the bumble-bee; The old baboon, the fuzzy little coon; They all went wild but me.")
  4. SharpAp 239, "The Tottenham Toad" (1 text, 1 tune)
  5. ST FlBr121 (Full)
  6. Roud #1140 and 3624
  7. BI, FlBr121


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1918 (Cecil Sharp collection)
Found in: US(NE,SE)