One, Two, Three, Four, Five

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"One, two, three, four, five"
Nursery rhyme
Published c. 1765

"One, two, three, four, five" is a popular English language nursery rhyme and counting-out rhyme. It has a Roud Folk Song Index number of 13530.


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 my right.[1][2]

Origins and meaning[edit]

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 words:

One, two, three, Four and five,
I caught a hare alive;
Six, seven, eight, Nine and ten,
I let him go again.[1]

The modern version is derived from three variations collected by Henry Bolton in the 1880s from America.[1]


  1. ^ a b c I. Opie and P. Opie, The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (Oxford University Press, 1951, 2nd edn., 1997), pp. 334-5.
  2. ^ Lansky, Vicki (2009-02-01). Games Babies Play: From Birth to Twelve Months. Book Peddlers. p. 76. ISBN 9781931863650.