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1001 Stories Collection

Hickety Pickety My Black Hen

Hickety Pickety
Added on 19th August 2020

Oral tradition Traditional nursery rhyme

A simple repetitive rhyme that can be spoken or sung.

Story

This children’s 4-line rhyme tells of a hen that lays ‘eggs for gentlemen’.

Why we chose it

Hickety Pickety My Black Hen was one of the nursery rhymes featured in the Nursery Rhyme room in our Time for Bed exhibition.

Where it came from

It may have originated from an old rhyme about ‘Little Betty Blue’. The first known book of rhymes was published in 1744. Many rhymes were veiled political satire. Many, like this rhyme were nonsensical rhymes to amuse.

Where it went next

It became a popular nursery rhyme and was also sung or chanted as “Hickety Pickety My Red Hen”.

Associated stories

Other 4 or 5-line traditional rhymes include, Pat-a-cake (C16th), Hey diddle, diddle (1587), Jack be nimble (1798) and Hickory, dickory, dock (C18th)

Added on 19th August 2020

Oral tradition Traditional nursery rhyme