Pretty John Watts

Pretty John Watts,
We are troubled with rats,
Will you drive them out of the house?
We have mice, too, in plenty,
That feast in the pantry,
But let them stay
And nibble away,
What harm in a little brown mouse?

Pretty John Watts

The engaging nursery rhyme "Pretty John Watts" is a charming English ditty, beloved for its whimsical language and quaint narrative. Its precise origin remains elusive, but the rhyme has nestled itself comfortably into the annals of traditional English children's folklore.


The essence of "Pretty John Watts" lies in its uncomplicated narrative. An appeal is made to John Watts to rid the house of rats, a common pest issue in historical homes. The verse then transitions to the house's mice, who seem to enjoy their feast in the pantry. Despite their presence, the decision is made to let them stay, revealing a fascinating acceptance of the harmless mischief of the "little brown mouse".

Digging beneath the surface, one could interpret "Pretty John Watts" as a commentary on tolerance and acceptance. The mouse, although a common nuisance, is allowed to remain, suggesting a willingness to share our spaces with even the smallest of creatures. This could serve as a gentle lesson for children about coexistence and empathy for all creatures, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant.