Jump to content

The Owl and the Pussy-Cat

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from The Owl and the Pussycat)

The Owl and the Pussy-Cat
by Edward Lear
Edward Lear's illustration of the Owl and the Pussycat
IllustratorEdward Lear
CountryUnited Kingdom
Publication date1871
Full text
The Owl and the Pussy-cat at Wikisource
Reading of "The Owl and the Pussy-Cat"

"The Owl and the Pussy-Cat" is a nonsense poem by Edward Lear, first published in 1870 in the American magazine Our Young Folks[1] and again the following year in Lear's own book Nonsense Songs, Stories, Botany, and Alphabets. Lear wrote the poem for a three-year-old girl, Janet Symonds, the daughter of Lear's friend and fellow poet John Addington Symonds and his wife Catherine Symonds. The term "runcible", used for the phrase "runcible spoon", was invented for the poem.


"The Owl and the Pussy-Cat" features four anthropomorphic animals – an owl, a cat, a pig, and a turkey – and tells the story of the love between the title characters who marry in the land "where the Bong-tree grows".

Unfinished sequel[edit]

Portions of an unfinished sequel, "The Children of the Owl and the Pussy-cat", were published first posthumously during 1938. The children are part fowl and part cat, and love to eat mice.

The family live by places with strange names. The Cat dies, falling from a tall tree, leaving the Owl a single parent. The death causes the Owl great sadness. The money is all spent, but the Owl still sings to the original guitar.[2]

Derivative works[edit]

British picture book author Beatrix Potter has stated that her work The Tale of Little Pig Robinson is the back story of the character Piggy from The Owl and the Pussycat.[3]


The "piggy-wig" in the land of Bong-trees

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lucy Larcom, ed. (February 1870). "The Owl and the Pussy-Cat". Our Young Folks. VI (II): 111–112. Retrieved 5 August 2022.
  2. ^ Lear, Edward. "The Children of the Owl and the Pussy-cat". nonsenselit.org.
  3. ^ Beatrix, Potter (15 November 2017). "The Tale of Little Pig Robinson".
  4. ^ "Details of the 45 rpm record of Elton Hayes' recordings of Edward Lear songs". 45cat.com/. Retrieved 7 October 2011.
  5. ^ Stevens, Denis (1970). A History of Song. Vol. The Norton Library 536. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. p. 179. ISBN 0393005364..
  6. ^ "The Owl and the Pussycat Went to See..." davidwood.org.uk. Retrieved 8 February 2011.
  7. ^ "SEVEN AGES - An Anthology of Poetry with Music - NA218912". www.naxos.com. Retrieved 23 March 2020.

External links[edit]