“Mary Had a Little Lamb”


"Mary had a little lamb whose fleece was white as snow." Surely you know the rest....


Reported to be based on a true story. Which seems likely enough; who would make up something so trite?

The Baring-Goulds report a variant by "modern teenager[s]": The response to "Mary had a little lamb" is "And was the doctor ever surprised!" - RBW

Same tune

  • Mary's Little Lot (Greenway-AFP, pp. 51-52)
  • Mary Had a William Goat (File: San336)

Cross references


  1. Randolph 360, "Mary Had a Little Lamb" (1 text, 1 tune, with some unusual words in the first verse)
  2. Opie-Oxford2 341, "Mary had a little lamb" (1 text)
  3. Baring-Gould-MotherGoose #174, p. 127-128, "(Mary had a little lamb)"
  4. Fuld-WFM, pp. 354-355, "Mary Had a Little Lamb"
  5. cf. Greenway-AFP, pp. 51-52, "Mary's Little Lot" (1 text)
  6. DT, (MARYLAM2* -- if you're broad-minded about what constitutes a version)
  7. Roud #7622
  8. BI, R360


Author: Words: Sarah Josepha Hale
Earliest date: 1830 ("Poems For Our Children")
Keywords: animal children
Found in: US(So)