One, Two, Three, Four, Five
|"One, two, three, four, five"|
Common modern versions include:
- One, two, three, four, five,
- Once I caught a fish alive,
- Six, seven, eight, nine, ten,
- Then I let it go again.
- Why did you let it go?
- Because it bit my finger so.
- Which finger did it bite?
- This little finger on the right.
Origins and meaning
The rhyme is one of many counting-out rhymes. It was first recorded in Mother Goose's Melody around 1765. Like most versions until the late nineteenth century, it had only the first stanza, and dealt with a hare not a fish, with the lyrics:
- One, two, three, Four and five,
- I caught a hare alive;
- Six, seven, eight, Nine and ten,
- I let him go again.
The modern version is derived from three variations collected by Henry Bolton in the 1880s from America.
The song was sung on the children's television program Barney & Friends.
- I. Opie and P. Opie, The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (Oxford University Press, 1951, 2nd edn., 1997), pp. 334-5.