Little Tommy Tucker

Little Tommy Tucker is a rhyme that first appeared in 1744 in “Tom Thumb’s Pretty Song Book” but only the initial four lines were included. The full version was later printed in 1765 in Mother Goose’s Melody and became a popular rhyme to share with children. However, even though the rhyme received a lot of interest and was shared far and wide, the original author is unknown. 

Tommy Tucker wasn’t a real-life person, but a phrase often used to describe orphans. Little Tommy Tucker’s orphaned status is also referenced by his inability to get a wife. In the 18th century, orphans were not considered to have equal standing in the community.  

In some modern versions, the bread given is said to be white. However, in the original version, only brown bread is given in the rhyme because in the 17th and 18th centuries, white bread and a smear of butter were considered to be a luxury reserved only for the richer, ruling classes.

Little Tommy Tucker Lyrics

Little Tommy Tucker
Sings for his supper.
What shall we give him?
Brown bread and butter.
How shall he cut it
Without a knife?
How will he be married
Without a wife?

Little Tommy Tucker Music Sheet