“The Old Gray Mule (Johnson's Mule)”


"Mr. Thomas had an old gray mule, And he drove him to a cart, And he loved that mule and the mule loved him." The song describes how Thomas mistreats the mule (currying it with a rake, feeding it on boot tops). The mule kicks and eventually dies


Reading Pound's text, I can't help but believe that parts of it were originally about a goat, not a mule. But I can't locate similar "goat" stanzas. In any case, many of the same lines appear in Gardner and Chickering.

Brown's text is also about a mule, but the few lines it contains are all goat-applicable. - RBW


  1. LPound-ABS, 103, pp. 213-214, "The Old Gray Mule" (1 text)
  2. Gardner/Chickering 186, "Johnson's Mule" (1 text)
  3. BrownIII 512, "Johnson's Mule" (1 short text)
  4. Roud #3704
  5. BI, LPns213


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1917 (Pound)
Keywords: animal death work
Found in: US(MW,SE)