Hickory Dickory Dock

Hickory, dickory, dock,
The mouse ran up the clock.
The clock struck one,
The mouse ran down,
Hickory, dickory, dock.

Hickory Dickory Dock

The fourth line has several other different versions: “down the mouse run”, “and down he run” and “down the mouse ran”.

Complete (longer) version of Hickory Dickory Dock:
Hickory dickory dock, the mouse ran up the clock.
The clock struck one, the mouse ran down.
Hickory dickory dock.

Hickory dickory dock, the mouse ran up the clock.
The clock struck two, the mouse said “BOO!”
Hickory dickory dock.

Hickory dickory dock, the mouse ran up the clock.
The clock struck three, the mouse said “WHEE!”
Hickory dickory dock.

Hickory dickory dock, the mouse ran up the clock.
The clock struck four, the mouse said “No more!”
Hickory dickory dock.

 

Hickory Dickory Clock

Counting Rhyme

This nursery rhyme has no particular historical background or hidden meaning. It’s nothing but a simple children’s counting rhyme with words that mimic the sounds of an antique clock ticking and chiming on the wall.

Celtic Numbers

The words hickory, dickory and dock come from an ancient Celtic language that was spoken in the British Isles long before English and they mean numbers: eight, nine and ten. The old tongues were still very much alive in the Middle Ages, in some cases until the nineteenth century. Shepherds used to count their sheep using these words even when they already spoke English.

Who knows why the count ends at ten if the clock dial has two more digits? Maybe it’s because little kids usually first only learn to count to ten?

Nut Tree

Hickory Dickory Children

Hickories are also nut trees. For a tree, the word hickory comes from Algonquin (an Indian nation in North America) word “pawcohiccora.” However, it is improbable that hickory trees could have anything to do with the nursery rhyme.

Detective Novel

In 1955 Agatha Christie wrote one of her detective stories, giving it a title “Hickory Dickory Dock”. The story features her famous detective Hercule Poirot and his secretary Miss Lemon.