Three Little Kittens


Version 1

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.”

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.”

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!”
They began to sigh,
“Mee-ow, mee-ow, mee-ow, mee-ow.”

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!”
“Mee-ow, mee-ow, mee-ow, mee-ow.”

Source: Wier, Songs the Children Love to Sing (1916)

Version 2

Three little kittens, they lost their mittens,
And they began to cry,
Oh, mother dear, we sadly fear
That we have lost our mittens.
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.
Put on your mittens, you silly kittens,
And you shall have some pie.
Purr-r, purr-r, purr-r,
Oh, let us have some pie.

The three little kittens, put on their mittens,
And soon ate up the pie;
Oh, mother dear, we greatly fear
That we have soiled our mittens
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, do you not hear
That we have washed our mittens?
What! Washed your mittens, then you’re such good kittens.
But I smell a rat close by
Mee-ow, mee-ow, mee-ow, mee-ow.
We smell a rat close by.

Source: The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (1997)


Version 3

Three little kittens they put on their mittens,
To eat a Christmas pie;
But the three little kittens they lost their mittens
And so began to cry,
'Oh, mammy dear, we sadly fear
That we have lost our mittens.'
'Lost your mittens! naughty kittens;
Then you shall have no pie.'
Miaou, miaou, miaou!

But the three little kittens they looked for their mittens
Upon a shelf so high,
When the three little kittens they found their mittens,
And so began to cry,
'Oh, mammy dear, come here, come here,
For we have found our mittens.’
'Found your mittens! tidy kittens;
Then you shall have your pie.'
Purr, purr, purr!"

Source: Ross, Early Days Recalled (1891)

Version 4

There were three little kittens
Put on their mittens
To eat some Christmas pie.

Source: Crane, Baby’s Bouquet (1879)



Historical Background

“Three Little Kittens” represents a typical situation between a mother and a child. The child, represented by kittens, loses an item and is subsequently punished. After finding the lost item, the child is rewarded for the good deed. The rhyme’s first recorded appearance was in “Only True Mother Goose Melodies” in 1843. Its tune is a variant of “The Seven Joys of Mary.”

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