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Hickory Dickory Dock

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"Hickory Dickory Dock"
Hickety Dickety Dock 1 - WW Denslow - Project Gutenberg etext 18546.jpg
Illustration by William Wallace Denslow, from a 1901 Mother Goose collection
Nursery rhyme
Published c. 1744
Hickety Dickety Dock, illustrated by Denslow

"Hickory Dickory Dock" or "Hickety Dickety Dock" is a popular English nursery rhyme. It has a Roud Folk Song Index number of 6489.


The most common modern version is:

Hickory, dickory, dock.
The mouse ran up the clock.
The clock struck one,
The mouse ran down,
Hickory, dickory, dock.[1]

Other variants include "down the mouse ran"[2] or "down the mouse run"[3] or "and down he ran" in place of "the mouse ran down".

Origins and meaning[edit]

The earliest recorded version of the rhyme is in Tommy Thumb's Pretty Song Book, published in London in about 1744, which uses the opening line: 'Hickere, Dickere Dock'.[1] The next recorded version in Mother Goose's Melody (c. 1765), uses 'Dickery, Dickery Dock'.[1]

The rhyme is thought by some commentators to have originated as a counting-out rhyme.[1] Westmorland shepherds in the nineteenth century used the numbers Hevera (8), Devera (9) and Dick (10).[1]

The rhyme is thought to have been based on the astronomical clock at Exeter Cathedral. The clock has a small hole in the door below the face for the resident cat to hunt mice.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Opie, I.; Opie, P. (1997). The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. pp. 185–186. 
  2. ^ The American Mercury, Volume 77, p. 105
  3. ^ "Mother Goose's chimes, rhymes & melodies". H.B. Ashmead. c. 1861. Retrieved 14 November 2009. 
  4. ^ Cathedral Cats. Richard Surman. HarperCollins. 2004