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Three Little Kittens


Three little kittens,
They lost their mittens,
And they began to cry,
Oh, mother dear,
We sadly fear
Our mittens we have lost.
What! Lost your mittens,
You naughty kittens!
Then you shall have no pie.
Mee-ow, mee-ow, mee-ow, mee-ow.
You shall have no pie.

The three little kittens,
They found their mittens,
And they began to cry,
Oh, mother dear,
See here, see here,
Our mittens we have found.
What! Found your mittens,
You darling kittens!
Then you shall have some pie.
Mee-ow, mee-ow, mee-ow, mee-ow.
You shall have some pie.

The three little kittens,
Put on their mittens,
And soon ate up the pie;
Oh, mother dear,
We greatly fear
Our mittens we have soiled.
What! Soiled your mittens,
You naughty kittens!
Then they began to sigh,
Mee-ow, mee-ow, mee-ow, mee-ow.
They began to sigh.

The three little kittens,
They washed their mittens,
And hung them out to dry;
Oh mother dear,
Look here, look here,
Our mittens we have washed.
What! Washed your mittens,
You're such good kittens.
I smell a rat close by!
Hush! Hush! Hush! Hush!
Hush! Hush! Hush!
I smell a rat close by.


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History:

The profound significance of these verses suggests a story involving the relationship between parents and children. The mother's assertion that she "smells a skunk" invokes a conventional dialect that introduces a tone of ambiguity into the poem: the kittens were rewarded for losing and so finding the mittens; it may in fact be that the mother has in fact detected a rodent, but the mother's "smelling a skunk" may too indicate that the soiling and washing of the missions was a stratagem for a second payoff. The poem can be learn in a request and reaction choral manner featuring the sound of a storyteller and the voices of the kittens. Like most rhymes, this verse is unnamed. It dates to before 1858, when R. N. Ballantyne wrote an amplification of the poem under the championship The Three Little Kittens, published as region of the Good Little Pig's Library, book 1. An often late edition of the tale was published under the Little Golden Books impression in the United States.