This Little Piggy

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"This Little Piggy"
This Little Pig Went to Market by Lilly Martin Spencer, 1857, oil on cut arched board - New Britain Museum of American Art - DSC09337.JPG
Illustration by Lilly Martin Spencer, 1857
Nursery rhyme

"This Little Piggy" or "This Little Pig" is an English-language nursery rhyme and fingerplay, or, technically, toeplay. It has a Roud Folk Song Index number of 19297.


Children playing This Little Pig.[1]

The most common modern 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,
And 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, usually starting with the big toe and ending with the little toe. 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:[3]

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.[4]

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".[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wentworth, George; Smith, David Eugene (1912). Work and Play with Numbers. Boston: Ginn & Company. p. 14.
  2. ^ Herman, D. (2007). The Cambridge Companion to Narrative. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 9.
  3. ^ a b Opie, I.; Opie, P. (1951). The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (1997 ed.). Oxford University Press. pp. 349–50.
  4. ^ The Famous Tommy Thumb's Little Story-Book. 1760. p. 30.