The Farmer's In His Den

Song Video


The farmer's in his den,
The farmer's in his den,
E I E I O - The farmer's in his den.
(with one child in the centre of a circle).

The farmer wants a wife,
The farmer wants a wife,
E I E I O - The farmer wants a wife.
(the farmer picks a wife).

The wife wants a child,
The wife wants a child,
E I E I O - The wife wants a child.
(the wife picks a child).

The child wants a nurse,
The child wants a nurse,
E I E I O - The child wants a nurse.
(the child picks a nurse).

The nurse wants a dog,
The nurse wants a dog,
E I E I O - The nurse wants a dog.
(the nurse picks a dog).

The dog wants a bone,
The dog wants a bone,
E I E I O - The dog wants a bone.
(the dog picks a bone).

We all pat the bone,
We all pat the bone,
E I E I O - We all pat the bone.

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Information About The Farmer's In His Den

"The Farmer's In His Den" is also known as "The Farmer in the Dell". This song can be termed both a nursery rhyme or a children's game. Originating possibly in Germany and taken to North America by immigrants the song tells the story of a farmer in a dell who takes a wife, who takes a child, who takes a nurse, etc, until finally a rat takes a cheese, and the cheese "stands alone".

The nursery rhyme is sung while playing the game; about ten children hold hands together and dance around the farmer, the farmer stands in the middle of the circle while the kids sing. When the first verse comes to an end, the farmer will chose a wife and the wife stands with him inside the circle. At the end of second verse, the wife picks her child, and so on, this goes on and on until everyone is in the circle except for the cheese, who stands alone. Whoever ends up being the cheese becomes the farmer for the next round.

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clodaghbrennan, United Kingdom

25 April 2015 at 10:58am

the famer is his den is good

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jasmine, Australia

22 January 2015 at 7:10pm

this is a great and fun nursery rhyme I remember how fun it was :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

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Chris, Oxford, United Kingdom

4 August 2014 at 9:36am

I too remember (from 1960s Coventry) "the bone won't stand" and "we all pat the bone". Difficult to avoid the conclusion that this is a corruption of the original (German?) nursery rhyme, and that it addresses the theme of male impotence.

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Liz, Spain

17 July 2014 at 7:30am

I'm sure I remember (1940s tyneside) "The bone won't stand", seems strange now. No mention of cheeses with us.

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jackie, Congo, the Democratic Republic of the

19 May 2014 at 11:21pm

i love that song when i was three

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Anna H, Cyprus

29 April 2013 at 1:58pm

it is a rubish song and why would you pat a bone?

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Milly, France

29 April 2013 at 1:54pm

why would peple pat a bone? any ways the song is good if you are thick.

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Jax, Canada

17 November 2010 at 12:15am

actually the dog has a cat who has a mouse who has cheese and then the cheese becomes the farmer in the next game

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8 September 2010 at 11:47am

Brings back many happy memories, Great!

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Emma, Fairbanks Usa

15 July 2010 at 12:15am

I learned this song as "a Farmer in the dell"

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Michaela, Wolverhampton

1 April 2010 at 8:02am

brill did this as a child thanks

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Lizzie, Exeter, England

19 April 2009 at 3:48pm

surely the children should all pat the dog instead of patting the bone. Why would children pat a bone?

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