One, Two, Three, Four, Five Once I Caught a Fish Alive is a traditional nursery rhyme that is perfect for helping younger children learn to count. Other similar nursery rhymes include Ten in a Bed and Five Little Monkeys.
The rhyme was first published in Mother Goose’s Melody in 1765 but the original version only had one verse and was about a hare, not a fish! The lyrics were changed over the next century, and the modern wording sprung from variants collected by Henry Bolton in the US during the 1880s.
Sometimes the finger that gets bitten is described as a “pinkie” giving more opportunities for children to learn. It is a popular rhyme as it is easy to remember, fun to recite, and regales the audience with the tale of what happens when the subject managed to catch a fish while it was still alive and what became of the subject when the fish bit them.
One Two Three Four Five Once I Caught a Fish Alive Lyrics
One, two, three, four, five,
Once I caught a fish alive,
Six, seven, eight, nine, ten,
Then I let it go again.
Why did you let it go?
Because it bit my finger so.
Which finger did it bite?
This little finger on my right