There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly

Song Video

Lyrics

There was an old lady who swallowed a fly.
I don't know why she swallowed the fly,
I guess she'll die.

There was an old lady who swallowed a spider,
that wiggled and wiggled and tickled inside her.
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly.
I don't know why she swallowed the fly.
I guess she'll die.

There was an old lady who swallowed a bird.
How absurd to swallow a bird.
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
that wiggled and wiggled and tickled inside her.
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly.
I don't know why she swallowed the fly.
I guess she'll die.

There was an old lady who swallowed a cat.
Imagine that, she swallowed a cat.
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird.
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
that wiggled and wiggled and tickled inside her.
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly.
I don't know why she swallowed the fly.
I guess she'll die.

There was an old lady who swallowed a dog.
My what a hog, to swallow a dog.
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat.
She swallowed the cat, to catch the bird,
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
that wiggled and wiggled and tickled inside her.
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly.
I don't know why she swallowed the fly.
I guess she'll die.

There was an old lady who swallowed a goat.
Just opened her throat and swallowed a goat!
She swallowed the goat to catch the dog ...
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat.
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird ...
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider
That wiggled and wiggled and tickled inside her.
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly.
But I dunno why she swallowed that fly
Perhaps she'll die.

There was an old lady who swallowed a cow.
I don't know how she swallowed a cow!
She swallowed the cow to catch the goat...
She swallowed the goat to catch the dog...
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat...
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird ...
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider
That wiggled and wiggled and tickled inside her.
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly.
But I dunno why she swallowed that fly
Perhaps she'll die.

There was an old lady who swallowed a horse -
She's dead, of course.

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Information About There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly

The lyrics of "There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly" were written by Alan Mills and then sung by Rose Bonne. However, the version that is the most, well known is sung by Burl Ives in 1953.

The song tells a tale of a woman that swallows a series of animals starting from the smallest, leading to the biggest which is a horse. However, lyrics have been changed over time from dying to I don't know why.

This song has been used in a series of children's books, while also being sung in some well-known shows such as The Muppets and movies such as A Bug's Life.

Peer International (Canada) Ltd. bought the song's copyright 1952 and has held the copyright since 1966.

After the "dog" verse, there is another verse that you can add and it goes: "I knew an old lady who swallowed a goat; Just opened her throat and swallowed a goat!' She swallowed the goat to catch the dog".

There is a book called "The Fireside Book of Childrens Songs" collected and edited by Marie Winn, published by Simon & Schuster under Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 65-171.

Alternative Lyrics & Related Songs

Here is another fun version

There was an old lady who swallowed a fly.
I don't now why she swallowed a fly. Perhaps she'll die!

There was an old lady who swallowed a spider
that wriggled and wiggled and wriggled and tickled inside her.

She swallowed a spider to catch the fly.
I don't now why she swallowed a fly. Perhaps she'll die!

There was an old lady who swallowed a bird.
How absurd to swallow a bird.

She swallowed the bird to catch the spider.
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly
I don't know why she swallowed a fly. Perhaps she'll die!

There was an old lady who swallowed a cat.
Fancy that to swallow a cat.

She swallowed the cat to catch the bird.
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider.
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly
I don't know why she swallowed a fly. Perhaps she'll die!

There was an old lady who swallowed a dog.
What a hog to swallow a dog.

She swallowed the dog to catch the cat.
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird.
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider.
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly
I don't know why she swallowed a fly. Perhaps she'll die!

There was an old lady who swallowed a cow.
I don't know how she swallowed a cow.

She swallowed the cow to catch the dog.
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat.
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird.
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider.
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly
I don't know why she swallowed a fly. Perhaps she'll die!

There was an old lady who swallowed a horse...
She's dead, of course!

Listen to this song's music

88 Comments

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Katie, London

3 July 2010 at 5:03pm

I like this song, it's funny. I don't think it's scary at all. I enjoy singing it. And i am 7!

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Jelena, Serbia

5 June 2010 at 8:45pm

I heard this song at the English language seminar for the first time and I loved it. It's an excellent activity for the young learners because it integrates music and acting in the English language.

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Nikki, California

24 May 2010 at 10:31pm

I myself think this is sort of cute. I just leave out the last line of every pharagraph that states "I guess she'll die" , because my daughter is only 18 months old and I don't feel it is age appropriate for her. My husband and I have came across several nursery rhymes and Disney movies that talk about killing and the death of characters. We just choose to not read or watch those type of stories with her until she is able to comprenhend the moral of the stories. Which most of the time is that the bad people always get punished and good deeds get rewarded. I think is it on an individual bases and all decided on what is appropriate for that particular child. I will continue to sing this to my daughter and just leave out the parts I don't approve of and sometimes we even make up our own words...:)

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Alex, San Francisco, Usa

3 March 2010 at 1:32am

this song actually really creeps me out. i think the animals are different kinds of substitutes for human contact, i don't want to be too dark, but the fly is like original sin. really weird to sing to children if they think about what they sing.

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Benjamin Dover, Brisbane

1 March 2010 at 4:29am

hi my name is ben dover hehe:-)

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Heather, Alliance, Ohio, Usa

17 February 2010 at 6:22pm

My kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Ailes, sang this song to us. I loved having her for a teacher. I know everyone did. She's fondly remembered and sadly missed. I'm now singing the song to my 3 yr old.

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Jimbob, Red Wing, Mn Usa

8 January 2010 at 8:36am

It still warms my heart (even at 65 y/o) to think of all the other hearts that have been warmed. Thank you, Rose Bonne

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Tearra, Texas

5 December 2009 at 7:48am

oh my gosh its awesome to go back and reflect on my early elementary years and im a junior in high school now. It was great playing this song. It made me want to cry, because I'm getting older. WOW good times.

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Krystan, Ainsworth Iowa

2 December 2009 at 6:45pm

in there some where didnt she swallow a goat to catch the dog?

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Kasie, Hermantown, Minnesota

16 November 2009 at 8:11pm

i used to love this song when i was little!

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Stephanie, New Albany, Indiana, Usa

25 October 2009 at 4:28am

My grandmother used to sing this song to me when I was a little girl & tickle me on the "wiggled and wiggled and tickled inside her!" part. She is now deceased and has been for 6 years...With the anniversary of her death quickly approaching again, I am thinking about her a lot- and I have to say- THIS is one of my FONDEST memories of her. I had to look up the words- I can't wait to sing it to my 3 y/o little boy and 2 y/o little girl! =o) *In loving memory of Ruth Ann Voignier*

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George, Detroit,usa

22 October 2009 at 2:17pm

I was sitting and a playing a game on my phone,and this song popped in my head,so I looked it up and down laoded it.

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Brad, Tulsa, Ok

30 September 2009 at 6:41pm

I love this song and cant wait to sing it to my twins

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Selene, New Zealand

25 July 2009 at 7:30am

this song so cool I have to learn it for girl guides im so lucky another girl has to learn im a little tea pot!

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Liz, California

8 July 2009 at 12:18am

This song is not appropriate for children. Parents who sing it to their kids surely must be mad!

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Taylor Janes, Tipton

27 May 2009 at 11:07am

i like it

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Boo, Oakland

11 May 2009 at 7:32pm

Wow I remember this from the 1st grade! Memories!

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Diana, Dover, Pa

8 May 2009 at 12:01am

A childrens story about a lady on the verge of death? Ha. This was one of my favorite stories when i was little. The video is very cute.

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Yessica, Joliet, Il, Usa

17 April 2009 at 1:34am

This is a great song, I always sing it to my baby and he loves it!

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Lucy, Tomball Tx

16 April 2009 at 3:47pm

Thank you love this sitte ! I have a little day care at my home and my kids learn more and its fun to watch....

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This song has been printed from the BusSongs.com website.