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This Little Piggy

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"This Little Piggy"
Illustration by Lilly Martin Spencer, 1857
Nursery rhyme

"This Little Pig Went to Market" (often shortened to "This Little Piggy") is an English-language nursery rhyme and fingerplay. It has a Roud Folk Song Index number of 19297.


Children playing This Little Pig.[1]

One popular version is:

Words Fingerplay

This little piggy went to market,
This little piggy stayed home,
This little piggy had roast beef,
This little piggy had none,
This little piggy cried "Wee! Wee! Wee!" all the way home.[2]

Wiggle the "big" toe
Wiggle the "long" toe
Wiggle the "middle" toe
Wiggle the "ring" toe
Wiggle the "little" toe and tickle the bottom of the foot


"... This little piggy had roast beef..."

The rhyme is usually counted out on an infant or toddler's toes, each line corresponding to a different toe,[3] usually starting with the big toe and ending with the little toe.[2] A foot tickle is added during the "Wee...all the way home" section of the last line.[citation needed] The rhyme can also be seen as a counting rhyme, although the number of each toe (from one for the big toe to five for the little toe) is never stated.[citation needed]


In 1728, the first line of the rhyme appeared in a medley called "The Nurses Song". The first known full version was recorded in The Famous Tommy Thumb's Little Story-Book, published in London about 1760. In this book, the rhyme goes:[4]

This pig went to market,
That pig stayed home;
This pig had roast meat,
That pig had none;
This pig went to the barn's door,
And cried week, week for more.[5]

The full rhyme continued to appear, with slight variations, in many late 18th- and early 19th-century collections. Until the mid-20th century, the lines referred to "little pigs".[4]


The first of Beatrix Potter's illustrations

It was the eighth most popular nursery rhyme in a 2009 survey in the United Kingdom.[6]

The rhyme was included in Beatrix Potter's illustrated book Cecily Parsley's Nursery Rhymes in 1922. The only known full set of her four original watercolour illustrations of the rhyme sold for £60,000 in 2012.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wentworth, George; Smith, David Eugene (1912). Work and Play with Numbers. Boston: Ginn & Company. p. 14.
  2. ^ a b Herman, D. (2007). The Cambridge Companion to Narrative. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 9.
  3. ^ Bronner, Simon J. (2019). The Oxford Handbook of American Folklore and Folklife Studies. Oxford University Press. p. 175. ISBN 9780190840617.
  4. ^ a b Opie, I.; Opie, P. (1951). The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (1997 ed.). Oxford University Press. pp. 349–50.
  5. ^ The Famous Tommy Thumb's Little Story-Book. 1760. p. 30.
  6. ^ Falush, Simon (7 October 2009). "Nursery rhymes "too old fashioned" for modern kids". Reuters Life!.
  7. ^ Davies, Nick (11 July 2012). "This little piggy went for £60,000". Melville House.