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One, Two, Three, Four, Five

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Title: One, Two, Three, Four, Five  
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One, Two, Three, Four, Five

"One, two, three, four, five"
Roud #13530
Song
Written England
Published c. 1765
Form Nursery rhyme
Writer Traditional
Language English

"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.

Lyrics

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.[1]

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.[1]

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

Notes

  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.
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