Hicory dicory dock nursery rhymes

Hickory Dickory Dock Nursery Rhyme Learning Set

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What Is the Story Behind Hickory Dickory Dock?

(Last Updated On: February 27, 2020)

The nursery rhyme “Hickory Dickory Dock” brings back memories of simple times as a child. Can you recite it?

Hickory, Dickory, Dock
The mouse ran up the clock
The clock struck one
The mouse ran down
Hickory, Dickory, Dock

Yes, it is familiar, yet the history of this poem is far from simple. The nursery rhyme has been retold in countless versions and has delighted millions over the centuries.

The exact words of the basic poem vary. Your version may read “and down he run,” “and down he ran,” “down the mouse ran,” or “down the mouse run.” Whatever words you remember, there is more to the story of Hickory, Dickory, Dock.

Counting Out Rhyme

The sounds of the poem mimic an old clock ticking and chiming in the hall. Parents and teachers use it to introduce elementary students the basics of telling time. There are at least two different tunes for the song. One is from the UK and one is popular in the USA. 

Nineteenth-century sheep farmers in Northwest England counted their herd using Hevera(8), Devera(9), and Dick(10) from the ancient Cumbric language. Some say this counting method may, in fact, be part of the rhyme’s origin.

Ever wondered about Humpty Dumpty’s backstory? We’ve got you covered

Hickory Dickory Dock Origins

During the years of 1649 to 1658, Britain was ruled by Oliver Cromwell as the Lord Protector of the republic. Before he died, he encouraged Parliament to appoint his son, Richard to the post. Richard was not suited for being Lord Protector.

In contrast to his father Oliver’s nature, Richard was mouse-like and timid. He earned a number of nicknames such as Tumbledown Dick because of his abrupt fall from power when the monarchy was restored under King Charles II in 1660. A rarely heard second verse refers to “The man in brown” who “Soon brought him down.” It’s easy to translate the meaning as a reference to King Charles II who disguised himself before escaping to France during Oliver Cromwell’s rule over the republic.

Richard Cromwell only lasted nine months in his position before he resigned and left the country. Many origin stories attribute this satirical poem to Richard Oliver’s place in history. After exile in France for twenty years, Cromwell was allowed to return. King Charles no longer saw him as a threat. He died in 1712 on his estate.

18th Century Limerick

The poem was published in Tommy Thumb’s Pretty Song Book printed in 1744, London. The little book contained forty nursery rhymes, many of which are still part of child’s play today. It was spelled “Hickere, Dickere Dock” in this historic text. Over the years, many variations of both the title and the words of the poem surfaced in our culture including Dickery, Dickery Dock and Hickety Dickety Dock.

Although it is not considered a limerick by today’s definition of a humorous, sometimes bawdy, poem, it follows the poetic form of five lines in a single stanza structure and a strict rhyme scheme of AABBA. The limerick was also made popular by Edward Lear in the 19th century with his Book of Nonsense originally published in 1846.

Many versions of this original poem have additional stanzas following the structure of a limerick. Some involve other animals. Others have stanzas about all twelve hours on the clock. Still, others have more creative uses of the basic poem. 

What do you remember? Here is a longer version to spark your memory.

Related Hickory Dickory Dock Literature

Many authors have expanded the story of the famous poem. Agatha Christie borrowed the name for one of her Hercule Poirot mysteries even though it is only mentioned as a road in the story. And, in L. Frank Baum’s first children’s book, Mother Goose in Prose (c. 1897), he told a parable of a Momma Mouse and her three children Hickory, Dickory, and Dock.

Hickory, Dickory, Dock is a poem loved by many generations of English-speaking readers. Now you know the history and origin of the rhyme!

Do you find learning about nursery rhymes fun? Check out more stories about how they originated:

  • Hey Diddle Diddle
  • London Bridge is Falling Down
  • Mary had a Little Lamb



English rhymes for children

Nursery Rhymes Poems

Do You Know the Muffin Man?

Do you know the Baker ?

Oh, do you know the muffin man,

Oh, you know the Baker,

The muffin man, the muffin man?


Baker, baker?

Oh, do you know the muffin man,

Oh, you know the Baker,

That lives on Drury Lane?

Who lives on Drury Lane?

Oh, yes, I know the muffin man,

Oh yes, I know the Baker,

The muffin man, the muffin man,

Baker, baker,

Oh, yes, I know the muffin man,

Oh yes, I know the Baker

That lives on Drury Lane.

He lives in Drury Lane.

Hickory, Dickory, Dock!

Hickory, dickory, doc!

Hickory, dickory, dock!

Hickory, Dickory, Doc!

(tick tock)


The mouse ran up the clock;

The mouse ran up the clock;

(tick tock)


The clock struck one,

nine0015 The clock struck 1 o'clock,

The mouse ran down,

The mouse ran down,

Hickory, dickory, dock!

Hickory, Dickory, Doc!

(tick tock).


Pat - a - Cake

Piece of cake

Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake,

patties, patties,

Baker's man,


Bake me a cake

Bake me a pie

As fast as you can;

As soon as possible; nine0018

Prick it and pat it,

Prick him and stroke him,

And mark it with B,

And decorate it with a B,

And put in the oven

And put it in the oven

For Baby and me.

For me and the baby.

For Baby and Me, For Baby and Me,

For the child and me, for the child and me,

And there will be plenty for Baby and me.

And it will be enough for the child and me.

One, Two, Buckle My Shoe

One, Two , Zip My Boot .

One, two - buckle my shoe; nine0018

One, two - fasten my shoe;

Three, four - shut the door;

Three, four - close the door;

Five, six - pick up sticks;

Five, six - collect sticks;

Seven, eight - lay them straight;

Seven, eight - spread them evenly;

Nine, ten - do it again; do it again; do it again;

Nine, ten - do it again, do it again, do it again. ;

One, two - buckle my shoe;

One, two - fasten my shoe;

Let's do it all again.

Let's do it all over again.

Three, four - shut the door; nine0018

Three, four - close the door;

Five, six - pick up sticks;

Five, six - collect sticks;

Seven, eight - lay them straight;

Seven, eight - spread them evenly;

Nine, ten - a big fat hen.

Nine, ten - big fat chicken.

Eleven, twelve—dig and delve

Eleven, twelve - Digs and digs

Thirteen, fourteen - maids are counting

Thirteen, Fourteen - Girls counting

Fifteen, sixteen - maids are in the kitchen

Fifteen, Sixteen - Girls in the kitchen

Seventeen, eighteen - maids are waiting

Seventeen, Eighteen - Girls are waiting

Nineteen, twenty - I've had plenty!

Nineteen, Twenty - I'm ready!

One, two. How are you?

One, two. How are you?

Three, four. Who's at the door?

Three, four. Who is there at the door? nine0018

Five, six. My name is Fix.

Five, six. My name is Mr Fix.

Seven, eght. Sorry, I'm late.

Seven, eight. Sorry I'm late.

Nine, ten. Say it again.

Nine, ten. Do it all over again.

Our Wonderful World

Our Wonderful World

The world is a surprise

Wonderful world,

And is fun to explore

And so much fun to explore it.

We look all around us

We look around

And learn more and more.


And learn more and more.

The world is a wonder,

The world is a miracle.

Nature's one big surprise.

One big surprise of nature.

The stars in the heavens,

Stars in Heaven,

Sunset and sunrise.

Sunset and sunrise. nine0018

All things are changing.

Everything changes.

They're coming and going.

They come and go:





Life's evolving.

nine0015 Life develops.

Humpty Dumpty

Humpty Dumpty

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. Humpty Dumpty collapsed in his sleep.
All the king's horses and all the king's men All royal cavalry, All royal men
Couldn't put Humpty Dumpty together again. Can't collect Humpty Dumpty!



Rain-rain go away,

Rain-rain, go away,

Come again another day;

Come another day;

Little Johnny wants to play.

Johnny wants to play.

Rain, rain, go to Spain,

Rain, rain, go to Spain,

Do not show your face again

Don't show up again.

Bee Bee
nine0470 Bee, a bee, a bumblebee

bee, bee, queen

Stung a man upon his knee

I was bitten on the knee,

And a hog upon his snout,

A pig on the cheek - wow!

I'll be dogged if you ain't out!

I'm not me if you don't come out!



Eeny, meeny, miney, moe

Ini, mini, mine, mogu,

Catch a tiger by his toe,

I caught a tiger by its leg,

If he squeals, let him go,

As soon as he growls, I will let him go,


Eeny, meeny, miney, moe.

Ini, mini, maini, mu.

Under the ocean, green and deep

In the calm green ocean

Lie the fishes fast asleep,

All the fish went to bed.

Under the arm and over the shoe,

nine0470 Below shoulder, above foot,

Top on the head, and out goes YOU

Over your head, YOU are coming out!

Nursery rhyme Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star Hickory Dickory Doc Poetry, hickory dickory doc, text, poetry png

Twinkle Nursery rhyme, Twinkle, Little Star Hickory Dickory Dock Poetry, hickory Dickory Dock, text, poetry png


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