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Julie and Beth wrote looking for the origins of two Scandinavian rhymes that are played with little kids while touching their toes. We’re wondering if anyone’s ever heard of these rhymes and perhaps knows what country they’re from and/or anything else about their origins. Here’s what Julie wrote:

I have been searching for the origin of a nursery rhyme that my friend said to her kids. The child has his/her shoes off and starting with the little toe, she names the toes:

Little Pea (little toe)
Peter Lou (next toe)
Oosey Nossey (next toe)
Toosey tossey (next toe)
And a Great Big Oppososso (big toe)

I am not sure of the spelling. However, the University of Wisconsin Children’s Library assures me that this toe rhyme has Scandinavian roots. They said: Scandinavia is known for naming toe rhymes.

Please help me, I have been searching the origin of this toe playing game for years with my friend’s blessing. My friend is Scandinavian and she doesn’t remember where she heard this toe playing game. I assume that she heard it as a child.

Julie

Beth Bookschlepper wrote in looking for the origin of a similar rhyme:

I know this as…

Little Pea,
Penny Rou,
Judy Whistle,
Mary Tossle,
And Big Tom Bumble.

I am also interested in its origins.

If anyone can help, or would like to share other similar rhymes, please comment below.

Thanks!

Lisa

UPDATE: Check out Little One (aka Little Man) for an American Finger Naming Rhyme with origins in Medieval times.

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This artilce was posted on Wednesday, December 13th, 2006 at 7:20 pm and is filed under Countries & Cultures, Danish, Danish Nursery Rhymes, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Icelandic, Languages, Norway, Norwegian, Norwegian Nursery Rhymes, Nursery Rhymes, Questions, Rhymes by Theme, Sweden, Swedish, Swedish Nursery Rhymes, Toe Naming Rhymes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

166 Responses to “The Origins of Some Scandinavian Finger and Toe Naming Rhymes”

  1. Ellen T. McKinsey Says:

    Hi;

    This toe rhyme came down in my husband’s family, Richard O. McKinsey.

    It goes like this: Beginning with the small toe; Itty Mitty, Pea Rou,
    Rou Whistle, May Tossle and Old Tom Bumbo … and when you say “Old Tom Bumbo” you wiggle the toe. All of the children in the McKinsey
    family were taught this as little ones. We always thought its orgin was Scotland as our family came from there. Sincerely, Ellen T. McKinsey
    Will your comments be sent to my e-mail?

  2. Lois Lighthart Says:

    Interesting that the verse I am trying to track down, begins with the big toe and goes down to the littlest one – just opposite of those above.This is a phonetic approximation of the Norwegian toe-naming verse I heard my grandmother say: “Tum-a-tut, Shlek-a-put, Ling-a-man, Leya-span, and Little Putti Yonson”. I want very much to find a Norwegian who can tell me how it really goes!
    Thanks for any help!

  3. Kristina Says:

    Lois, I know of that rhyme, but for fingers, not toes. It sounds very similar to your rhyme, but is in swedish. It goes: Tummetott, slickepott, långeman, gullebrand och lilla vickevire.

    Starting with the thumb (tumme) and going to the pinky (lillfinger). Slickepott also means dough-scraper and of cause the finger is called so small children use the finger for eating . Slicka mean (to) lick, you lick the finger. Slickepott also means dough-scraper. Långeman means long man and gullebrand (d is silent so it rhymes) comes from gull, meaning gold, that is the finger you place the wedding band on. Tummetott and vickevire are more nonsence words (vicka means to wiggle).

    Personally I never learnt any rhymes for the toes, but I’ve heard of two from further north in Sweden. I found them on the internet and they go:

    Lilltåa, Tåtilla, Tillerosa, Baggfrua och Gubben Stor!
    (from the province of Härjedalen)

    Lilltåa, Tåtilla, Mockafrua, Parrarota och Storbonden opp´ i vä´re!
    (province of Jämtland)

    A little hard to translate, but lilltåa means (the) pinky toe. Frua means wife and gubben stor the big old man. Store gubben is used the same way as the expression “big boy” in english. Storbonde means affluent farmer and that’s why he’s “opp i väre” that is up in the air, a proud man.

  4. Kristina Says:

    just correcting myself: it should be “tall man” not “long man”. And I found a norweigan version of Lori’s rhyme:

    “Tommeltott,
    Slikkepott,
    Langemann,
    Gullebrand,
    og Lille Petter Spillemann

    Essentially it’s the same meaning. Lille Petter Spillemann means little Petter Musician/fiddler. Och/og means and. Hope it helps even if it’s still not your version perhaps?

  5. Francesca Says:

    I learned something similar to the original toe names listed, with some variations, and I thought it came from the Scottish side of my family. Starting with the little toe-

    Little Pea
    Penny Lutie
    Lucy Whissie
    Mary Hossie
    And Great Gobby-gobby-gobby!
    (The last is said while tickling the child.)

  6. Dave H. Says:

    I’m looking for a Toe Name poem. I don’t remember any rhyming but two of the names are Tilly Lou and Best Fossil. My grandmother & my dad used to rattle off the names but we don’t remember them now. Can you help?

  7. miriammacelroy Says:

    My grandfather who died recently, aged 106, and collected Irish Folklore called the fingers; thumbeen, lisbeen, longman, shortman, little jack a dandy. Does any one know what the origin is?

  8. Hui Says:

    Hi,

    I’m a canadian but live in Norway now. The finger naming rhyme I know, as below, is similar to what Christina said above, just the pinky is different.

    Tommeltott,
    Slikkepott,
    Langemann,
    Gullebrand,
    og Vesle Per Spillemann.

    And the is for the toe, begining with the little toe.

    Titil,
    Tåtil,
    Tilarus,
    Megelfru,
    og Gubbelesten den Store.

  9. Pete Says:

    I know the origin (author/year and exact verse)

    It’s not Scandinavian.

    Please keep posting versions and I’ll return soon with the “answer”.

  10. Tanya Says:

    My family sais
    Little pead
    peady lou
    lutie fizzle
    fizzle nozzel
    and great big hobble nobble!
    Wonder where this came from….intersting how many versions of this.

  11. Dinah Says:

    I am 62 years old. My mother thought the origin was Norwegian as their church in eastern Kentucy had a minister from Norway and he played this toe game with the little ones in Sunday school. Starting with the little toe:

    Little Pea
    Allie Lou
    Ludie Ossel
    Mary Whissel
    and (with great emphasis and tickling) BIG BOM BOLLY

  12. Terri Says:

    My Grandfather was Danish. He played the toe game with us as kids. I don’t know the spellings as this was always said aloud. I will spell them as they sounded to me, though, my guess is that the spellings posted by others is more accurate. I’ve also gotten the order of the middle ones mixed up over the years, but will assume the order that other have posted.

    Starting with the big toe, and wiggling the final little toe, as someone else mentioned:

    Tummeltot
    Schlickapot (or Schligapot)
    Lingamot (or Lingamont, the t is very soft)
    Gullebrot (the “r” is rolled, the “t” at the end could be a “d”)
    Little Pita Schpillamot

    I am thrilled to find others with similar recollections, and to get, perhaps, some proper Danish spellings! I think Kristina’s is the closest, and sheds some light on the little toe’s name. I also recall my Grandfather pointing out “Tall Man” in English, as we struggled to get it right.

    Thanks, All!

  13. Lisa Says:

    I too have always wanted to know what a toe rhyme my grandfather and then father always did for us when we were kids. I have now started to do it with my 2year old daughter and she loves, but I have no idea what I am saying. It starts with the little toe and ends with pulling the big toe and saying the last phrase in a high excited way.

    lil toe-a, toe tilla, tilla rosa, spuf lua, tu-tupa lua!
    No idea on the exact spelling but this a phoenetic interpretation.

  14. Dr. Andrew R Boersma Says:

    As a child along with my sisters and cousins, we were all taught by our Grandmother (nee: Gulbransen) our Norwegian fingers,(spelling not sure) Thumb a kin, Schlak a pot, Long a mon, Vesslly haun, and Little Peter yenssen. This was a sunday dinner before the pudding rhyme. This caused a finger in the pudding bowl at the last by Grandfather, much to the dislike of our Grandmother. PS nice site. Dr. Boersma.

  15. bonnie lorenzen Says:

    I was recently reminded of this when my mother did it with my newborn daughter. Hers was (not sure about spelling):

    eekie pee
    penny rue
    ruey whistle
    pele hostle
    and old tom bumble

    She reports that she learned it as a child, but has no knowledge of where it came from.

  16. Ann Says:

    I was taught it this way by another teacher:
    Little Pea
    Penny Rue
    Rudy Whistle
    Sarah Hustle
    and Big Tom Bumbo

  17. Bonnie Says:

    The rhyme in our family for toes is:
    (Little toe-Big toe)

    Icky Pea
    Penny Rue
    Rue Whistle
    Jerry Ostle
    Big Tom Bumble

    We, too, are interested in the origin of this.

  18. Matt Fremstad Says:

    My Grandmother who grew up in rural Western Wisconsin (ancestors moved here in the middle 19th century) and spoke Norwegian at home until the Second World War used a similar yet different version than the ones listed above.

    It went (phonetically)
    Fingers, thumb first:
    Tum-astat
    Letch-a-put
    Long-a-mine
    Stick-fer-hine
    pity-pity-pity-mine

    Toes, little one first:
    leigh-te-ta
    til-tilla
    ted-a-dos
    mag-a-flugga
    steig-a-loo-ga (useally a long “Steig” and “looooo”)

    It’s really the only Norwegian I’ve ever known, and yet I never knew what it meant.

  19. Pete Says:

    OK. I’m back. Your versions are very interesting. Here are the original version names:

    Little Pea
    Tilly Lou
    Lu Whistle
    Bess Throstle
    Tom Bumble

    Keep posting and I’ll return soon with the author’s name.

  20. Gretchen Says:

    I was just telling a co worker about how my Dad used to do this to my fingers when I was a little kid. I’m not sure how far back it goes but I’m only 34 and I think his parents taught it to him.

    I grew up with as: (Spelled Phonetically)

    Tummututten
    Slickaputin
    Longamon
    Little Yohann
    Little Vickaveena

  21. Justin Says:

    Amazing. The iterations of this sound similar to the “Telephone” game (where you whisper one phrase in someone’s ear and when it comes out at the other end (through at least four or five people) it is completely different (but similar enough to laugh at the original phrase).

    My grandmother taught me the following (starting from the smallest toe):

    Little Twee
    Pally Lou
    Louttie Whistle
    Whistle Ossle
    and great big Whoppy Dopple

    I have no idea of the origin but will surely try to get more information and post here.

  22. mandi Says:

    My Family originated in Iceland and we were all taught the toe/finger song

    we sang
    Tommeltott,
    Slikkepott,
    Langemann,
    Gullebrand,and litte bitty spitty mott (phonetic)

  23. Lori P Says:

    Funny, I just had a big disagreement with my significant other about me making this up, as I was doing this on our 3 yr olds toes and it was just something my family made up…
    We Say
    Little Petie
    Petie Lou
    Lounie Whistle
    Monie Wastle
    Ohhh Hoble Gooble Gooble
    I went on line an sure enough here are several versions of this- so it was not my imagination

  24. Bonnie Says:

    My dear Norwegian mother in rural Wisconsin wiggled toes with:
    Inka Pea
    Penny Rue
    Rue a Whistle
    Mary Tossle
    BIG TOM BUMBA LOW ! ! !
    (I guessed at the spellings). How wonderful to read all the different versions that people submitted! I’ll bet babies loved them all.

  25. Nancy I. Says:

    My Norwegian father-in-law who grew up on a homestead in North Dakota and spoke Norwegian, played a “toe game” with our daughters. Wiggling the little toe first he would say (phonetically):

    Litato tou
    Tilerou
    Magerfrus —-
    Kromphestin, kromphrestin (as he wiggled the big toe).

  26. Janet Says:

    I was looking for the names of toes from my family. They came from Denmark in the 1860’s. We have surely changed it from the ones given here. So American of us! They are now
    tomal tot
    slicko pot
    lunga mung
    gooler brown
    and little itsy bitsy speeder man

    How funny! Thank you for all of the more accurate history everyone.

  27. Sharon Says:

    Here is the version my sister taught me from her husbands family.

    Little Pea
    Peadle Lou
    Lucy Whistle
    Whistle Nossel
    Great Big Hottentoten

    Hottentot was a name given to a tribal group in S. Africa by the Dutch from the Eighteenth Century. Look this name up it is very interesting.

  28. sune villum-nielsen Says:

    it is known in Danmark as (my memory – I’m 63) :Tommeltot, slikkepot, langemand, guldbrand og (and) lille peter spillemand (d is silent), “spille” refers to playing music. It all goes – as far as I remember – on “learning” the fingers . Today a “spillemand” is a person who plays danish/scandinavian folk-dance music.

  29. Paige Says:

    My grandmother taught us to begin with the Big toe:

    Big Tom Rommer
    Mary Tossle
    Penny Rue
    Rue Whistle
    Little Locker Pea

    She was from Georgia and had a french and english background. I love this !

  30. Libby Says:

    My dad had a funny one he taught me. It goes like this:
    Starting with the little toe, (either foot!)

    Eenie Wee
    Penny Rue
    Roadie Winkle
    Sadie Hawkins
    And….
    Ol’ Tom Bumboo ( in a deep voice while shaking the toe)

  31. Jean Milbert Says:

    I am the 6th of 7 children. We all know the toe rhyme as follows. No one knows where it originated. I am trying to find out for my granddaughters school assignment about family customs.

    Eckie pee
    Pecky roo
    Roo whistle
    Mary ossle
    Tommy bumble (drawn out while you wiggle the last toe)

    I suspect it is a variation of some of the other rhymes mentioned
    here.

    Jean

  32. Melissa Huff Says:

    I was just looking up to find out where we got this weird tradition of ours… we name our toes:

    Eckie Peeky
    Pennie Rudy
    Rudy Whistle
    Mary Hossle
    Old Tom Bumble (shaking the big toe)

  33. P.W. Ears Says:

    Egg-a-peep
    Penny Rue
    Rue de Whistle
    Mary Hustle
    Old Tom Bumble

    (spellings assumed…said while wiggling each toe)

    This in California, from a friend who learned it from her father, a man of mostly German descent, who grew up in Iowa. The variations of this are amazing: It’s like that old game of “telephone”!

  34. Lawrence Black Says:

    My father was a Native Norwegian speaker from North Dakota, born 1903, so his Norwegian was a little stultified. Thumb to pinkie went like this..I looked it up while in Norway 1974. Tommelstot (Fell in the water. Slikkespot (licks the pot, pulled him out) Langeman (Tall man, carried him home) Gulebrand (Gold ring, dried him off) Lille Pete Spelleman ( Little Peter the student – spelleman means reader our equivalent for student, went and told Mama!) The toes were from the smallest up, teetel, totel, telerose, mekelfrukt, Stodel guben hesten (the big rocking horse, hest[en] means the horse.

  35. Lizzie Says:

    Does anyone out there know a Ukrainian toe rhyme (of sorts) that sounds like

    Suroku, wuronu, gytym kashu varyla
    tomudala, tomudala, tomudala, tomudala
    tomu huloku zidvala y hai hai pulykela hai hai

    As far as I know it has to do with a mother bird feeding cereal to her babies but then tearing off the head of the smallest and tossing it into the air. Sounds gory, but that’s the way I remember it. I’m looking for a proper translation and spelling in Ukrainian.

    Thanks.

  36. Ine Says:

    Hello

    I am Norwegian.

    Here are the finger rhymes and toe rhymes that i learned as a kid from grandparents and parents.

    fingers start with thumb and goes
    Tommeltott (thumb)
    Slikkepott (slikkepott refers to licking the finger..as children do
    when you bake something, they lick the pot)
    langemann (long man/tall man…the longest finger on the hand)
    gullebran (gull=gold refers to the goldring you get on the finger when getting married/engaged)
    og lille petter spellemann (little peter fiddleman…it is a nursery rhyme in itself..fiddler on the roof.)

    as for toes (megelfru,negelfru loved child has many names..)
    youstart with the pinky finger.
    here is the one i learned
    Tittil, tottil, tillerot, megelfru og store-gubbe-hesten..
    only thing making sense is the big horse *big toe*

    Lawrence had a pretty good translation too.

  37. Kelsey Says:

    My mom and my uncle have been telling me for years about the names of the fingers in Norwegian but I always figured they were just making it up.
    Their version sounded like

    Thumb-oo-stadt
    Schlicky-poot
    lingbrahn
    goolbrahn
    little-pit-eh-schmil-a-mit

    Completely inaccurate, but that is the version they always told me. And we didn’t use it as a game or anything, they just assumed those were the names of the fingers in Norwegian!

  38. Monica Ebmeier Says:

    My grandfather taught me the 5 Swedish words for each of my fingers, and as I grew I would recite them for him. My father, my grandfather’s son, was never taught the words. I have never seen the words in writing until now. As I remember the phonetics:
    tomatut
    slickaput
    logamon
    slipmahon
    vika vika vena
    The only translation that I knew was for logamon (long man).
    Thanks for stirring up some wonderful memories!

  39. Roger Queen Says:

    I recently found an old business card of my fathers from when I was a baby in 1960. I can remember the rhyme just barely, my Father is of Scotch ancestry, but I will have to ask him where he heard it. Here is is in his spelling:

    Little Locher Pea
    Penny Roo
    Roo Whistle
    Tommy Tossle
    Great Big Tom Bummer
    I cannot believe all the variations passed down. Wonderful to remember this stuff, I’ll have to teach it to my daughters.

  40. winnie Says:

    My father taught my 8 siblings and me the names of our toes which are as follows starting with the big toe:
    Tom Pumpkin, Long Larkin, Betty Pringle, Johnny Jingle and Little Dick. Has anyone heard of these names and if so do you know the origin? I would be very interested in hearing. I have only met 1 other person who knew these same names.

  41. Steve Says:

    My grandparents were from Norway, The toe rhyme I remember, is: (no clue on spelling).
    teetale
    tautale
    tilaroos
    negafloo
    studadubalessin(drawn out)
    would love to know any tranlation, if it could be figured our from my spelling

  42. Steve Says:

    I think Lawrence above answered my question

  43. Karen Says:

    The Norwegian finger song that my Great Aunt Tomina taught me went very similar to the others except;

    tummeltut (thumb)
    slikaput (first finger)
    langalasa (second finger)
    little e o (third finger)
    velta hans e dahlen (fourth finger – little finger- and gently shake while saying that)

    Another one taught to me by my father-in-law is Danish for parts of the head (excuse the spelling)
    ponabean (forehead)
    eyestean (eyes)
    nasatip (nose)
    monalip (mouth)
    hagafip (chin)
    tickle, tickle tickle (doing that under the chin)

  44. Amanda Says:

    I’m looking for a similar Dutch rhyme. My great grandma who passed away several years ago taught it to me & my sister in Dutch and English when I was little.

    I only remember the English version now, but it’s funny how some of the finger names translate so similarly.

    If anyone knows this in Dutch please let me know!

    Starting with the thumb & moving towards the pinky:

    “Let’s go to bed said the thumb.

    But first let’s get something to eat said the licker.

    But where shall we get it? said the Longfellow.

    From grandmother’s cupboard said the ring finger.

    Then I’m going to tattle! said the little finger ((shaking finger vigorously))”

  45. Cindy P Smith Says:

    My grandfather was Norwegian. Arnold Sundheim. My mom says:
    My father taught us these poems when we were little. Using our toes and fingers as he recited them. He was born in 1911 and they spoke Norwegian at home and he was schooled and confirmed in his church in the Norwegian language.
    His parents came over here from Norway .
    Fingers
    Thumb – Tumutut
    second -s lagaput – licking finger
    third – lungamon – longest finger
    fouth – gulbrung – ring finger
    Little finger – litta pity Yonson(Johnson)

    toes (starting with the little one)

    teetle
    taatle
    toetle
    monkafoot
    stodagubalyson

    I haven’t a clue how they are correctly spelled-this is how it sounded.

  46. Lisa Says:

    Those are cool!

    -Mama Lisa

  47. Gale Murty Says:

    My great grandmother came to Saxon, Wisconsin from Sweden in the 1880’s. The finger naming game was passed down as written above. The only difference is the name of the little finger which (phonetically) is “lilla flika setz de ashka spun” meaning a little girl sat in the ashes and spun. Is anyone familiar with this variation and the correct spelling?

  48. Elvena Sundheim Schmugge Says:

    It was fun to read our version of the rhymes.
    Thanks, daughter Cindy Smith

  49. jillian Says:

    My grandfather was from norway and he used to do these rhymes for my toes as well.
    Starting with the big toe
    Toomastut
    Slikaput
    Lungalasa
    Yilienta
    Mittafair

    Excuse the spelling. I have no idea how to spell them or the translation.
    Hope this helps.

  50. Gene Leyden Says:

    I taught creative dance for children for 30 years and I knew and taught the rhme as:

    picky pete
    petey roo
    rooey whistle
    mary ossel
    and big tom bumble !

  51. Jeni Ridge Says:

    When I was little, my mother would play a toe rhyme. I didn’t actually learn it until I had children of my own and wanted to play with them. Thank you all so much for your versions!!

    My mother’s went like this:

    Starting at the little toe, grab each toe and begin naming them…

    Little Pea
    Penny Rue
    Rue Whistle
    Mary Ossle
    Gobble, gobble, gobble … as the big toe was grabbed three times.

  52. Rae Wiker Says:

    I’ve been searching for this ‘toe game’ for over 30 years. My father, now passed away, used to play it on my son’s toes. He never was sure of the spelling, but phonetically we managed. Thank you all for your input and refreshing my memories of daddy.

  53. Rhonda Says:

    I was playing this game with my 3 y/o niece.. And I noticed her chipping toe nail polish and I asked her “who did your pedicure??” and she said “Old Tom Bumbo”… :) I cracked up!!
    We do…
    Old Tom Bumbo
    Mary Horsle
    Rue Whistle
    Penny Woo &
    Picky Pete
    We start with OTB… and tickle on Picky Pete

  54. Doug Largent Says:

    This toe rhyme has been in my wife’s family for 40 years. Taught by my brother-in-law’s nanny. It makes our baby happy every time:

    Little Pead
    Polly Oud
    Oudie Whistle
    Mary Wastle
    and the Great Big Wabbaduck!

  55. Rosanns Spearrin Says:

    Hi all!! Thank you for this wonderful website!! An old family friend used to do the toe names with my oldest son (who is now 5). My family never did anything like this (nor my hubby’s) so Keith’s cute rhyme was much enjoyed by all of us (mostly because of our sons giggles and satisfaction from the toe name game). Keith recently passed away and although he recited it frequently, when I went to recite it myself for our new bundle of joy I couldn’t remember it all for the life of me!! So I went searching the web and found you all, thank you all, this site was enough to spark my memory!! This how our beloved friend Keith used to say it to our babies Gus and Oscar, now I will pass it on to our newest edition, Walker.

    Icky Pea (My husband swears it was Icky Peep)
    Penny Rue
    Rudy Whistle
    Mary Hustle (I think Mary Thistle may sound right too tho…)
    and Old Tom Bumble

    I remember my grandfather used to say one about my fingers but I can’t remember the slightest about that one now.

    Thanks again, I can’t wait to see the giggles (once he’s big enough of course) from my little Walker man! It’s so funny to see the evolution of this simple nursery rhyme from one family to the next!!
    I want to learn the other one from Norway and use one for each for each foot!!

    FYI: another cool site for nursery rhymes I found in my web search for this toe name game is http://www.smart-central.com/ it has thousands of nursery rhymes with the music!!

    Cheers!!

  56. Harley Says:

    My mom also had variations of this, i can only remember 4, maybe somebody knows the 5th toe
    icky pea
    ruth whistle
    mrs saussil
    tom bamba

  57. Andie Says:

    My father-in-law (born in 1928) taught us his childhood version when our firstborn came along. It’s very similar to some of the English ones listed here…but just a tad different.

    Icka Pea
    Penny Roo
    Rudy Whistle
    Penny Oddle
    and Old Tom Bumbo (said slowly with a deep, grumbly voice)

  58. Lisa Says:

    These are really cool! I’d love to hear the intonation. Andie, if you, or anyone else out there, would like to record it for us, I’d love to post a recording! -Mama Lisa

  59. P Pineo Says:

    My grandmother, who hailed from New Brunswick of Scottish parents, used to say:

    Inky Pee
    Penny Rue
    Rudy Whistle
    Mary Ossle
    and OLD TOM BUMP!

    Love you grandma. : )

  60. Michelle Says:

    How wonderful these posts are! Here is what my mother-in-law taught me and what I now teach my daughter:

    Nickapee
    Penny Roo
    Roo Whistle
    Cherry Tossel
    and Old Tom Wassum

  61. cLoudGLPong Says:

    my mother would recite a very similar rhymewhile playing with me and my sisters toes as children, she is 100% full blooded Danish and her mother sang the same tune. it went like this, starting from the smallest toe going to the big toe.

    Eekie Pee
    Penny Rue
    Root Whistle
    Merry Tostle
    and the big… fat…. hush… bush…… BUMBLE (dramatic build up followed by extreme tickling)
    I’m going to ask my grandmother where she got it from, hopefully she knows :-)

  62. Marilyn Van Tilburg Says:

    Great memories from rural northern Indiana, in the 1950’s, I remember my dad and mom taking each toe starting with the little one:

    Little Pea
    Penny Rue
    Rudy Whistle
    Mary Ossle
    and Gobble, Gobble, Gobble

  63. Sara Says:

    My grandmother’s norwegian parents, who lived in Kansas, had a version that went like this…

    Tommelstot (Thumb)
    Slikkepott (Index)
    Langemann (Middle)
    Helluhind (phonetic – held behind) (Ring)
    Little Peter Yenssen (Pinky)

  64. Karen Says:

    I’ve been looking for a rhyme my Norwegian grandmother used to say to us– I thought it was a toe-naming rhyme but don’t see anything like it here. Does anyone recognize it?

    Ella, mella, d for della, snip, snap, snu.

  65. SUNE VILLUM-NIELSEN Says:

    TO KAREN’S COMMENT NOV 2008 : YOUR DANISH FATHER-IN LAW:
    IT IS A POEM BY HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN : PANDEBEN, GODT DET GROR …. THERE IS A MELODY TO IT , WHICH GOES ON ANOTHER ( OLDER) POEM TOO : LILLE FØL, VED DU HVAD (LITTLE FOLE, YOU KNOW WHAT…. . BOTH CAN BE GOOGLED ON ” GAMLE DANSKE SANGE : PANDEBEN! GODT DET GROR!

  66. Greta Says:

    my grandmother, from swedish descent knows the fingers as follwed:

    (phonetically)
    Tomatut- Thumb
    Slickaput- 1st Finger
    Longamon- Middle Finger
    Yetlyhun- Ring Finger
    Little vikavinne- Pinky Finger

    it seems the first three are almost always the same but the ring and pinky fingers have many variations

  67. Marit Galaaen Says:

    What a great page! I’m a norwegian and was searching for toe-rhymes and got loads! and your norwegian is very funny! (phonetically written anyway)! To give something back…for you Karen who ask about Elle melle.. which is a rhyme you say when you have to chose between something.. like who you want on your team, or what cress to choose and so on:
    “Elle, melle,
    deg fortelle
    Skipet går
    ut i år
    Rygg i rand
    to i spann
    Snipp snapp snute
    – du er ute
    For each word you point at your “options” the one that get the last word is Out (=ute)
    Hope you got something out of this!

  68. Lisa Says:

    Thanks Marit! How’s this for a translation?

    Elle, melle,
    You tell,
    The ship goes,
    Out this year
    Back on brim,
    Two in the bucket
    Snipp*, snap, snout,
    You are out!

    *Literally collar

    This is a nonsense rhyme like Einey, miney miney moe. “Elle melle” seems to be complete nonsense.

    I welcome corrections to this translation/analysis!

    Cheers!

    Mama Lisa

  69. Karina Allen Says:

    This is for Terri, who posted the rhyme on June 7th 2007 and whose grandfather was Danish. Terri expressed interest in the correct spelling of the rhyme and I would like to help out. The rhyme is about the fingers starting with your thumb and goes like this:

    Tommeltot
    slikkepot
    Langemand
    Guldebrand
    og lille Peter Spillemand

  70. Glenna Says:

    I was trying to find “our” toe song because I have a new granddaughter. My mom and dad used to do one that went:

    little toah
    toah teah
    makky fooah
    likky booah
    cuckoo (shaking big toe and squeeling!)

    My dad was pure Swedish, so I always assumed it was Scandanavian in origin, but I haven’t seen anything like it here. Please understand that the above is phonetically spelled, have no idea how it is supposed to be spelled.

  71. Amy Says:

    I haven’t seen this combination yet:
    Pea…..
    Penny Roo….
    Mary Rossel….
    Rhodie Whistle….
    And Gobble, gobble, gobble!
    We started with the little toe and drew out the syllables until the big finish.

  72. Les Says:

    Our family is not Scandanavian, but our father taught us the names of the toes as:

    Tom Pumpkin
    Long Larkin
    Betty Pringle
    Johnny Jingle
    Little Dick

    Does anybody know this origin?

  73. Lisa Says:

    An Croenen Brutsaert wrote…

    There is a Flemish equivalent:

    Duimeloot, Likkepoot, Lange Jaap, Korte Knaap en Klein Petoetje!

    Thank you for triggering this memory about my own grandfather!

  74. Wendy Bettey Says:

    My grandmother (from Maine) taught it to me and all my cousins like this:

    Icky Pee
    Penny Roo
    Rootie Whistle
    Mary Ostle
    Big Tom Bumble

  75. P Pineo Says:

    Interesting Wendy. My grandmother was from Maine as well and had a very similar rhyme. See my entry on this page from 11/4/2009. : )

  76. Jordan Says:

    My grandmother and her son (my dad — both from maine) would say

    little pig
    penny wu
    chu-da whistle
    mary hustle
    and great big tum-bubble, tum bubble, tum bubble

    I bet my grandmother was taught completely different words. She sometimes has trouble remembering…… She probably grew up with the original wording, as she is second generation Polish.

  77. Kelsey Says:

    Teetilla
    Toetilla
    Tillarose
    Ebenfroo
    Rubenhesstesstess

    This is what I learned from my mom… who learned it from her mom… who is full Norwegian. (Phonetic spelling of course)

  78. Diane Says:

    This site is wonderful! I have looked through all the posts and haven’t found one with the one word I remember from my husband’s grandfather’s version. He did it on my kid’s toes, and my 29 year old son still remembers having it done on him, but none of us remembers the words.

    The two words I remember, and I think they were for the little toe, sounded like “litchikin.” (Could actually have been “lille kin”?)

    I’d love to have the complete rythme or something close.

    Thanks. Terrific memories!

  79. Peter Says:

    My father did the toe count to all of his eleven children. Liten tå, Tå natril, Tå la rosa, iben fru, gubben hest — spelling is probably incorrect. I beleive dad got this from his dad, who came from Molay, Norway in 1895.

  80. Diane Says:

    Thanks, Peter. I bet the word I remember was “liten” (little?) Not sure about the rest, but its closer than anything else I’ve seen. Thanks for your help. Anyone else have any ideas?

  81. Lisa Johns Says:

    I was reminded of the toe names a couple of weeks ago when I went back to Maine with my new baby to visit my family. Our version goes:
    Eeney Pea
    Penny Rude
    Rudy Whisle
    Mary Hossel
    and Old Tom Bumble! (grabbing and shaking big toe, deep slow voice)

    My grandmother says she learned it from her Grandmother Wing (born in 1888, family origin English)

  82. dorothy greene Says:

    I was saying this to my 6 week old grandson and his mother said that she had never heard it. I remember my grandfather saying it to me when I was about 5. The way that he said it was:
    Eckie Pea
    Penny Rue
    Rudy Whisle
    Mary Hossel
    and Old Tom Bumble! (grabbing and shaking big toe, deep slow voice.
    I always thought that my grandfather made it up since the only people that I heard say it were from his family.
    My grandfather lived in New Hampshire and all of his life. He was born in 1880 and most of his ancestors came from England in the 1600’s.

  83. TR Says:

    My great grandparents who were Norwegian played the finger and toe games with me and my cousins and siblings. I never remembered how to recite the finger game (thanks to the posts here, though, now I have remembered it), but I still remember how the toe game sounded to me. Totally inaccurate, hah hah.

    littel-toe
    teel-toe
    telero
    mauthrow
    kariben-essen (horse in the stall)

  84. David Prestemon Says:

    Here is the finger naming game my Norwegian grandmother used to play with me. It is similar to the Danish version posted by Karina Allen above.

    Tommeltott (Thumb)
    Slikkapott (Pot licker)
    Stormann (Big man)
    Gullbrann (Gold fire)
    Lille Peter spillemann (Silly little Peter).

    The dictionary gives “foot-loose and fancy-free” as the meaning of “spillemann”, so my grandmother’s translation seems reasonable.

    The amazing thing is that this is still stuck in my head after nearly 60 years.

  85. Kirsten Says:

    My grandmother played with me starting with the little toe:

    Little toah
    Toah tillah
    Tillah roosah
    bung fruah
    Ster-tip-a-nup-a-vera

    She was 100% Swedish.

  86. Adelaide Says:

    My mum was from western Pennsylvania, b. 1905. I learned this bunch of names for fingers from her — and she learnt it from her father, who was either an immigrant from England or else Ist generation American. Start with the little finger: Little Pete, Peter Root, Rooter Whistle, Mary Ostle (Ossle??), and Big Tom Postle (Possle??). My mum never knew the origin of the names. I’ve kind of wondered if it might possibly be connected to English ‘change ringing,’ i.e. if perhaps the fingers might have gotten these nick-names from the different sized bells rung in the ‘change’ patterns. Any ideas? Or answers?

  87. Lisa Y. Says:

    My childhood toe version was:
    (small toe to big one, with the big toe resulting in a big full body tickle)
    Little Pea
    Pea Roo
    Rooty Whistle
    Ossie Ostle
    And Great Big Gobbly Gostle

  88. Dylan Says:

    My mom used to say this all the time:

    Little Peed
    Penny Rude
    Rudy whistle
    Mary Hustle
    Gibble Gobble!!! (With tickling!)

    I’m pretty sure this is from our Welsh roots.

    Does anyone have a solid history for this?-Dylan

  89. Barb Donahue-Linquist Says:

    My mother’s Swedish family an my grandmother’s Danish family always threw in another name in the last line….
    OG LILLE PETTER JENSEN” SPILLEMANN…made the “flow “go better I guess..

    GOD JUL….GLAEDIG JUL….

  90. Barb Donahue-LinDquist Says:

    my sons and grandson love the game..so do I!!

  91. Paul Tucker Says:

    A friend in high school taught me:
    Little Peety
    Peety Rudy
    Rudy Whistle
    Mary Bossel (Martha Bossel on the other foot. It doesn’t matter which foot you start on.
    And Old Tom Bongle!

    It’s interesting that Rudy Whistle seems to be the most standard of all the names.

  92. Gretchen Says:

    My mother taught it to me this way and she learned it from her father. We live in Maine
    Icky Pea
    Penny Rew
    Rewie Whistle
    Mary Ossle
    and
    Old TOm Bumble

  93. parker Says:

    my dad told me the toe rhyme and said it was “this little piggy” in norske. it goes somthin’ like this…

    ti till
    ta till
    mogafrost
    speilros
    stodakubelheston

    this is my best attempt to spell exactly what he said as i heard it.
    obviously it is phonetic
    i would be very happy if someone could help me to decipher this as to the meaning of it P L E A S E!!!

    he pass away almost two years ago and i still havent been able to get it right yet

  94. emily Says:

    i too grew up having the toe song played on my toes by my grandmother, whose parents immigrated from norway, i cannot spell the words correctly but it sounds like litatoa, totalita, titarosa, abafrua, stogabinisen

  95. Stacy Oxendine Says:

    I am also trying to find the toe name saying that my father used to say to me when I was little and he passed away just over a year ago. Most have a Norwegian & Swedish background, so wasn’t sure where it came from originally. I have found similar ones beginning with the little toe that are close:
    Titil, Tåtil, Tilarus, Megelfru, og Gubbelesten den Store. (although I remember something with “stoda” in it

    BUT … he also used to go to other foot starting at Big Toe and all I remembered was the “Little Puli-mus” at the end when he would just wiggle the little toe. Can’t seem to find anything with THAT, again I have no idea how to spell it.

  96. Pat Says:

    The version I remember is:

    Inky Pead,
    Penny Zood,
    Zoody Whistle,
    Mary Hustle,
    Old Tom Bumble.

    I was surprised and delighted to find the same poem in a book about everyday life in Tudor England. It was in a chapter about children’s games. Of course, some of the words have changed slightly over the generations but it remains basically the same. So the poem is at least that old!

  97. Shirlee Says:

    My family background is Swedish and Norwegian, but it seems to have come from the Norweigian side of the family. Here is how I learned it:
    Little Pea
    Peadie Lou
    Ludie Whistle
    Nissle Nossle
    and Great Big Whopple Topple (as you wiggle the BIG Toe)

  98. Tony Newell Says:

    The variation from my family.
    Little Peed
    Peedy Lou
    Looney Whistle
    Nissle Nossle
    and Great Big Wopple Topple

    My Great Grandmother was from Norway. That’s our know origin for the rhyme.

  99. Bren Laurenti Says:

    We were taught the toe naming by my father’s side of the family, who said they learned it from my great, great grandmother, who immigrated to the U.S. from Sweden. I’m not sure of the spellings, but we recited it as follows starting with the little toe:

    Picky Pea
    Penny Roo
    Roo Whistle
    Mary Hossle
    Big Tom Bumble Bee – after which we poke the bottom of the foot and say “Buzz.”

    It looks like this is somewhat like the game I’ve Got A Secret, where it starts out as one thing and ends up somewhat different through telling.

    We did not even know the “This Little Piggy” toe thing til we were a lot older.

  100. Lisa Says:

    I just found this English one:

    Harry Whistle, Tommy Thistle,
    Harry Whible, Tommy Thible,
    And little Oker-bell.

    From Popular Rhymes and Nursery Tales by James Halliwell.

  101. Joyce Says:

    My youngest son sent me this link. I was so surprised to see so many responses. I’ve met only one person in my life outside my family who had similar toe names to my family’s tradition. I found the listings of toe names very interesting, especially the similarity in names from different locations. My family, heritage is primarily English, German & Irish. The toe naming in our family was, beginning with the little toe:

    Little Peetie
    Penney Rudy
    Judy Whistle
    Mary Hossel
    Old Tommy Bungle-Bungle.

  102. elise Says:

    My Grandma just passed at age 96. I grew up hearing the rhyme this way, as have my children.

    tummatoot (thumb)

    slickaput (pointer finger, or finger you lick to page turn)

    longamon (middle finger/longest)

    ringamon (ring finger0

    “and” little pippi anna

  103. Nichole Says:

    My Dad taught me the following, which he learned from his grandmother (who was originally from Monson, Maine)

    Little Peed
    Ally Lood
    Lood the Whistle
    Mary Jane
    and… OLD TOMBLY BOMBLY BOMBLY

    I LOVE that there are so many variations of this little rhyme. I was hoping to find out a little bit more of the origin, but instead am thrilled to know there are kiddos out there getting as much enjoyment from this as our family did and still does.

  104. martha Says:

    When I was growing up my mom played a toe game…start with the big toe
    excuse the spelling…
    Pity crapo
    la te day
    jean le voe
    pity pucee
    quee quee quee….does anyone recognize or know this one!

  105. Lisa Yannucci Says:

    Michelle wrote:

    Hello, and thank you for this site, it takes me back to when my grandpa used to sing me Norwegian rhymes

    there was one he used to say to me, and he said it was like this little piggy and he would touch my fingers and say something like

    -tomletut
    -slaytiput
    -longmon
    -gooliblan
    -lille petta strulamon

    Im not sure if that is the correct saying but would love it if someone could translate or tell me the correct pronunciation

    thank you so much

    Michelle Bussey

  106. Monique Says:

    Martha, looks like French to me, the first being “Petit crapaud” (little toad) and the last “Petit Poucet” (Tom Thumb- lit. Little “Thumby”) “quee quee quee” being more or less “quiriquiqui” that we say while tickling a child. But I can’t figure out what can the two in the middle be.

  107. Tara Says:

    My mother-in-law’s family used this rhyme:
    toe types
    airy wipes
    toe tissle
    bill whistle
    and ookie-bell

    Starting with the big toe and ending with the little toe.

  108. Carolyn Says:

    From western Kansas ca.1943

    Little Pead
    Penny Rood
    Mary Rozzel
    Rhody Whistle
    Old Tom Gibble Gobble

    Started with the little toe and ended by wiggling the big toe.

  109. Valarie Gengel Says:

    Now THIS is going to drive me bananas! My Icelandic Mom did this “toe” thing and I can’t, for the life of me, remember the names. I just remember that when it came to the little toe it was really funny!

  110. sam wharton Says:

    My Grandmother palyed the toe game with us and here are the names we grew up with:

    Peedy Weedy
    Pally Ludie
    Lady whistle
    Lodie Wassle
    Great Doe-a-man dot

    The spellings are my best phonetic effort.

  111. PETER RANDRUP Says:

    Some of you guys have come close to the right rhyme but you probably didn’t quite understand what they were saying…it’s easy enough to do with Danish or Norwegian.

    My parents taught the FINGER rhyme to me and my siblings – they were both Danish and immigrated to Canada in 1956.

    The rhyme is:

    Tommeltott, Slikepott, Langemand, Guldebrand, og Lille Peter Spillemand

    It’s easier to get when you understand that “mand” means “MAN”. TOMMEL means “THUMB”, “SLIKE” means “LICK”, “LANGEMAND” is “LONG/TALL MAN” “GULDE/BRAND” means “GOLD/FIRE”, and finishes with “AND LITTLE PETER GAMBLING MAN ”

    I sorta always thought it meant

    Thumb (Tot?), (one for) licking pots, long man, gold one? (because that’s where you wear wedding ring – but brand means FIRE), and little Peter spilling Man. But then I was pretty young.

    I tried a translation site but TOTT and POTT in Danish don’t seem to mean anything, but “spiller” means GAMBLING or GAMING

  112. Laura Peavey Says:

    This website was quite a pleasant surprise when I googled the rhyme! I find it quite fascinating the different family versions of the same toe-naming game!

    While re-reading reminisces written in 1989 from my paternal grandmother, who passed away in 1991 at the age of 97, she twice mentioned this little rhyme. She wrote that it sounded like a really old rhyme and had often wondered about the origin of the little rhyme that Mother Peavey, her mother-in-law, used when counting the baby’s toes. Instead of the usual “This little piggy”- she used to say, “Tom Bumble, Mary Hossle, Penny Rude, Rudy Whistle and little Baby Wee-wee.”

    My great-grandmother (Mary Edith Hayes Peavey) was of Scottish descent. In my understanding of the history of the British Isles and noting northern Scotland’s proximity to the Scandinavian countries, my guess, the rhyme’s origins was probably Norwegian or Swedish. The English, Gaelic and Welsh translations (of what the Scandinavian grandparents were saying) developed over time into the various versions passed down by each family.

  113. Julie MacKenzie Says:

    Loved to find this

    Norwegian uncle when I was little, said
    Titer, tawter, tillarose, abafo, gobahesnigarden..that what it sounded like, now from here…this it was

    Titil, Tåtil, Tilarus, Ebenfroo, gubbe hesten den Garden

    dont know the first part, but starting at gubbe..it means, sleepy horse in the garden…very fun.

    i would love to know the first part.

  114. Sandy Bartnik Says:

    I’m amazed by how many variations of this toe rhyme are posted here. When I was a little girl in the 1950’s this version was taught to me by my great uncle in eastern Oregon. (Start with little toe)

    Little Pea
    Peady Loo
    Loodie Whistle
    Whistle Wossle
    GREAT BIG WHOPPY TOSSLE! (Big voice…shake the big toe.)

  115. Will Says:

    My grandmother was swedish/norwegian and it went:

    teetle,
    toytle,
    slickaput,
    longemun,

    and

    studagubalaysush!

  116. Lucy Says:

    My grandma used to say the toe rhyme to me when I was a kid. I believe she is English and French. Here’s how her version went.
    Little Pete
    Pete Root
    Root Whistle
    Mary Hostle
    And Old Fat Hobble Gobble (said in a deep gravely voice while pinching the big toe)

  117. Dave Says:

    Pete —- Our family version of this is Little Pea, Penny Rue, Rue Whistle, Sarah Horsel and Great big Tom Bumble….. The Kimball side of my family came over in 1726 from England…. So who really knows the orgin I’d say at this point…

  118. Gail Says:

    My father in law played a Danish game with my daughters as he named their forehead, nose, chin and under their chin. We have no idea what the words were and it always made them giggle. Can anyone help?

  119. You Sound Old (full episode) | A Way with Words Says:

    [...] Do our toes have names? Mother Goose and Scandinavian nursery rhymes gave us variants of Tom Pumpkin, Long Larkin, Betty Pringle, Johnny Jingle, and Little Dick. Sounds cooler than big toe, no? A whole lot more shared here. [...]

  120. GregMN Says:

    Maybe the English version of the Danish game is:

    “Head achker,
    Eye winker
    Bill berry
    Cheek cherry,
    gilly, gilly, gilly, gilly!” — where the kid’s neck gets tickled.

    Silly game, but we all loved the attention and it never got olde… but we did!

  121. GregMN Says:

    I am Swedish and Dutch, so I heard the finger story from both sides of the family (60+ years ago).  It was a story that always began with the finger names.  My family versions sounded like the Flemish contribution above, with differing names for some of the digits.

    …And Croenen Brutsaert wrote “There is a Flemish equivalent:
    Duimeloot, Likkepoot, Lange Jaap, Korte Knaap en Klein Petoetje!”

    (phonetic:  doymalot, lickapot, longayaap,korte knaap, kline a ding)
    I think the Swedish version used “Vetle gude ma skogen” for the little finger.

    In my family’s story, as above, the children went into the forest and got lost. Duimeelot fell in a fen – swamp – the next three sibling digits tried to help, but in the end, it vas “Vetle gude ma Skogen” who saved them all.

    Some how I liked that story better than all the kids sneaking to the kitchen, and the little tell-tale finger tattling.

    – Greg in mid-Minnesota

  122. GregMN Says:

    I am sure the most common toe poem has to be:

    This little piggy went to market. (Likely never to be seen again!)
    This little piggy stayed home
    This little piggy had roast beef — (a carnivore toe?)
    This little piggy had none… and… (long anticipation)
    THIS little piggy went…
    Wee wee wee —
    All the way home! ( Maybe it was supposed to be “whee”

    Any way, I would like to see the worldly translations!

  123. Julia Says:

    hmmm, as I recall my grandmother saying (she was a Furgeson and not from the Sarah Furgeson lineage), and we believed it was an old English tradition, we named our toes:

    Icky Pooh
    Penny Rue
    Rooty Whistle
    Mary Hustle
    and Big TOM BUMBLE..as we wiggle the big toe.

  124. Greg M in Minnesota Says:

    http://omas-liedjes.clubs.nl/nieuws/detail/424247_naar-bed
    (The scandinavian Go-to-bed Finger Story)… Naar Bed (to bed).
    This is for Isabel: — Geplaatst op maandag 07 maart 2005 @ 21:00

    http://omas-liedjes.clubs.nl/nieuws/detail/424247_naar-bed
    — NAAR BED –
    Duimeloot is in ‘t water gevallen.
    Likkepoot heeft hem eruit gehaald.
    Lange Jaap bracht hem weer naar huis.
    Korte Knaap heeft hem in ‘t bedje gelegd
    En het kleine, kleine Pietje,
    heeft het allemaal aan zijn moeder gezegd.

    Duimeloot is uit het bedje gekropen.
    Likkepoot heeft hem eruit gejaagd.
    Lange Jaap is er achteraan gelopen.
    Korte Knaap heeft hem naar huis geleid.
    En het kleine, kleine Pietje,
    heeft het allemaal aan zijn moeder gezeid.
    — — — — — — —
    Many versions of the rhyme may be found in Google searching “Duimeloot Korte Knaap”
    I keep looking for the one with “Vetle Gude ma Skogen” (Little man in the forest?)
    There is a song “auch, Kline Dinge” (little one),

  125. Venti più due risorse, lezioni di stile e curiosità sulla lingua inglese | Personal Report Says:

    [...] terzo, quarto e quinto dito, ma piace pensare che esistano nomi più specifici. Barrett segnala la discussione nata da un post dedicato a una filastrocca scandinava su, appunto, le dita dei piedi: nei commenti [...]

  126. Tim Says:

    My father had names for each toe. I only remember 6 of them and only the phonetic sounds. They were passed down from generation to generation but originated in Sweden. I’m sure they changed quite a bit from generation to generation. The ones I remember are:
    Young-a-man
    Yetliham
    Molly Hossell
    Little Whistle
    Great big gobble gobble gobble (for big toe)
    Shlek-a-put

    I wish I could remember the rest…

  127. Janice Bogott Says:

    My grandmother taught us something similar–she was of English decent. It went:

    Little pea,
    Pear Roo,
    Rudy Whistle,
    Mary Hostle
    and gobble gobble

    She always started at the big toe and ended at the little toe.

  128. bigmamma Says:

    The toe rhyme in my family goes (wiggle each toe and say the name):
    Aqua Pea
    Penny Rou
    Roy Whistle
    Mary Hawtom
    and Ol’ Tom Bumbo (said in a deep voice, slow cadence, while bending the big toe back and forth)

  129. Lisa Says:

    Debra wrote:

    “My husband’s mother used to do this with our small children’s fingers too!

    Thumb 1st:

    Tumble tot
    lick a pot
    lang a man
    gouleh bran
    little peter
    spill a man

    OMG Now I know where it came from thank you so much.”

  130. kimberly Says:

    My great grandmother did one similar to the ones above… We always thought it was German… Not sure on spelling

    Hacky pea
    Penny woo
    Mae hauffin
    Pea hauffin
    And wiggling the big toe and in a deep voice… Ol’ Tom bone!

  131. Andrew Says:

    Here’s one:

    Little Pea
    Polly Lou
    Lucy Whistle
    Mary Muscle
    And Ole Hubble Bubble

  132. Melissa Says:

    My great-grandmother, who hailed from western Varmland in Sweden, told us the following for the toes & fingers, again phonetic, as I’m unsure of the real Swedish spellings.

    Toes, starting with the little toe and progressing to the big toe which would be shaken pullled up toward body (she would then tickle us):

    lilatoe
    tillatoe
    tillarusa
    ebafrue
    Studa-ruda-breken

    Fingers, starting with the thumb and ending with the pinky:

    tummatut
    slickaput
    longeman
    spilleman
    un Lila pan usten vesta land (Nana said this meant little man from the western land)

    Does anyone know the proper spellings or have translations? 

  133. Steve Says:

    A family friend played a Norwegian version of this game with me when I was about 3 years old. It starts from the little toe, and as best as I can remember, used Norwegian names for different sizes of horses.

    Tommy-tot (little toe, little horse)
    ? (pony)
    ? (colt)
    ?
    Stola kruba heston (sp?) (big toe, “great big horse”)

  134. Pete Says:

    My father used to “name” our toes much like the rhymes above and I thought I would share the names I remembered (spelled phonetically)

    Eedie-peedie
    Peedie-lou
    Luna Whistle
    Mollie Whozzle
    and the Great Big Hobble Gobble!

  135. Deb Spindler Says:

    My grandfather Olla Elliot, taught me the toe game in the 1950s and by sound it was akapeed, penny oud, oudafissle, poziewozle, tumbumble. I remember loving pennyoud and then the next toe beginnig with the same oud sound. ( like ood in food)
    I love reading the comments on this page, glad to find it. Thanks.

  136. Joy J. B. Says:

    The version I’ve been told for toes is similar to
    many I’ve seen here.
    While, I’m not certain of the correct spelling,
    from smallest toe to largest toe, mine goes;

    Pea Wee
    Pettigrew
    Roo-issile
    Merry Tassle
    And Old Tom Bom Bow
    (Or, And Old Tom Bumble)

  137. Joy J. B. Says:

    Thank you for this site, it’s been quite helpful and I know I’ll use it again! =O)

  138. Topper Says:

    My mother was born in North Dakota in 1902 of parents whose first language was Swedish. But the version she taught us as children was not the Swedish (tummetott, slickepott, etc.) for the fingers, but rather this one for the toes, beginning on a high note with the little toe and proceeding with progressively lower tones to the big toe.

    Petey,
    Petey Rudy,
    Rudy Russell,
    Mary Hustle,
    Big Gobble Gobble Gobble.

    Heaven knows where she got it. Probably not from her parents but from friends or from the parents of friends (who may have been of Norwegian, German, Bohemian, Russian, or, of course, English extraction). All I know is that we loved it and that the children I’ve used it on love it as well — provided of course that it’s delivered dramatically and with a good wiggle of each toe as you move along.

  139. M.T. Brickey Says:

    This is great! I am 28 and remember my great grandmother doing the toe rhyme to me. I know little about her but she lived in Kentucky for some time (I noticed this state was mentioned in another reply). Her/my version is: Little Pete, Petey Root, Rudy Whistle, Mary Hossle, and Great Big Gobble, Gobble, Gobble. The rhyme starts at the little toe and goes to the big toe. I had no idea it had such roots and I apologize if I really messed up the spelling (I only heard it)! How neat – I thought we were the only family that knew of this – no one else I have told has ever even heard of it!

  140. Lacy Hudson Says:

    My great grandmother was born in Cootehill, County Cavan, Ireland. She was brought to the US as a child in the late 19th Century. Her maiden name was Irwin, and her mother’s maiden name was White. Because the family was Protestant, the politics of the day, and the last name of Irwin being an Irish form of the Scottish surname of Irvin, it is likely that the family originated in Scotland. For several generations my family has taught our children a toe rhyme of unknown origins, other than we know it came through my great grandmother. It could be Irish, it might be Scottish. Who knows?! My husband, who was born and raised on the Northeast coast of England, in the borderlands, has never heard the rhyme before. Beginning with the small toe; it goes:
    Little Wee Winkus
    Jilly Ka-link-us
    Patty-ka-pokus
    Crookedy Fil-a-Gus
    and
    Ole Haggety Moss
    If anyone has any idea what this means, where it comes from, the proper spelling… Please let me know! Thank you! :)

  141. Matt Says:

    My grandmother used to do a toe rhyme when we were kids, with the last toe sounding like “digabud”. I have no idea what this was as far as language/origin, and I haven’t been able to place it. Any thoughts?

  142. Karen Says:

    Gail Says:
    October 30th, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    My Danish father-in-law told it to me this way, touching each area as he said it,

    ponebeen (forehead)
    eye-is-teen (eyes)
    nasatip (nose)
    monalip (mouth)
    hagafip (chin)
    tickle tickle tickle (under the chin while the child giggles like crazy)

    Thank you to all who have posted all these wonderful variations of the finger/toe naming games. So fun to read about.

  143. Libby Says:

    Love all of these…
    Here is the one my grandmother used to say to me and I now say to my granddaughter…

    Little Petie
    Petie Roo
    Rudy Whistle
    Thistle Ostle
    Big Tom Bumble.

    My granddaughter (will be 2 in February) will come up to to me and stick her feet up say “bumbo bumbo”!

  144. Joe L. Lovell Says:

    My grandparents had the following toe-counting rhymes. If anyone knows an origin for these, i would greatly appreciate hearing from you.

    For a five count, starting with the big toe:

    This one,
    That one,
    Oyo,
    Blacksheep,
    And Another One (wiggling the little toe)!

    For a ten count, starting with a little toe:

    One-ry,
    Two-ry,
    Ziggery,
    Zam!
    Holl-a-bo,
    Crack-a-bo,
    Thum-bo,
    Wheel-bar,
    Baxton,
    And ten and ten and ten (wiggling the little toe)!

  145. Lisa Says:

    There are many versions of the One-ery Two-ery rhymes. Many come from England but they’re found in the US too.

    Here are a couple with some of the phrases that are in your rhyme:

    One-ery, two-ety, ziggery, zan,
    Hollow-bone, cracker-bone, mulbeny pan.
    Pit, pat, must be done ;
    Twiddleum, twaddleum, twenty-one.
    0-U-T, spells out.
    And so you are fairly out.
    -From England

    One-ery, two-ery, ickery, Ann ;
    Hollow-bone, crackabone, ninneiy, tan;
    Spittery spot, it must be done ;
    Tweedledum,tweedledum, twenty-one.
    -From Indiana

    Onera, tuera, ickera, Ann,
    Hollowbone, crackabone, wheelbar
    row, whetstone, tardiddle, ten.
    -From Maine

    There are many, many variations of this rhyme.

    I hope this helps!

    Mama Lisa

  146. Mrs. A. M. Clark Says:

    I have a new great-granddaughter (9 months old now), and she loves having me play the toe game that my mother (German background) taught me and has been passed down. This is how I remember it:
    ]Icka pea
    Penny roo
    Mary hassie
    Rudy vessel
    Ole Tom Bummel (wiggles big toe, followed by tickling)

    I had no idea how many variations there are! Fun!

  147. Lisa Says:

    Doris wrote regarding Norwegian toes & fingers names:

    Toes:
    Lille toa, Til toa, pengfrua, klubhesten, Stor toa
    (the “a” on the end of these is from the Nordland dialect)

    Fingers:
    Tommel tott, sleike pott, lange mann, gulde brann, og lille Peter Spelleman.
    (all vowels are pronounced)

    We grew up hearing these on the prairies of Saskatchewan, Canada.

  148. Deborah Says:

    My grandmother taught me this rhyme and here is how I remember the rhyme she said:

    Little Pitts
    Penny Roo Roo
    Roo Whistler
    Minny Hostler
    Big Tommy Bumble (said in a low gravely voice while shaking the big toe)

    Very interesting how many different versions of this rhyme are known!

  149. erica Says:

    My nana use to say, piggy wee, penny roo, lucy whistle, mary ostle, and big tom bumble bee. When she said big tom nimble bee she would buzz up and down our feet. It was a bedtime ritual in our family.

  150. Sarah Says:

    I have no idea where the tradition in my family stemmed from but when I had my daughter my mother started wiggling her toes…

    Heedie Peed
    Penny roo
    Rudy ristle
    Mini Tostle
    and Big Tom Bomble!!

    It’s hilarious to read all the variations

  151. Jason Says:

    My mother taught me this version. I’ve been trying to remember it to teach my little girls.

    Little Pea
    Perry Lou
    Loui Whistle
    Nistle Nossel
    and Great Big Hopple Topple

    Then on to the next foot…

    Old Tom Bumble
    ( can’t remember this toe )
    Long Man Lynn
    Little Boe Pin
    and Little Jack a Dandy’O … Ticking ensues!

  152. Donna Says:

    My dad used to quote the finger names & I can’t remember all of them. His thumb was Tom Sucky, another was similar to Will Walkie? Thats all I can remember. Do you recognize these?

  153. Linda Says:

    My grandma (born 1892 of German/English descent) said it this way:
    Little Peed
    Peedle Loodle
    Loodle Thistle
    Mary Thossle
    Tom Bungle.

    I thought I was the only one who knew about this!
    Yay Google! ;-)

  154. nathan seale Says:

    I was wondering about the origin of the finger and toe names my family has passed down…to find out that what i learned was an american version of the Swedish ones above…. i learned what sounds like…

    fingers:
    thumb a thot
    slinky pot
    longy man
    stephy anne
    and little vicky vinni

    toes:
    big toe
    toe tila
    tila toe so
    coconoso
    and itty bitty toso

    glad to pass down this to my children …even if it is our own version…thought i was the only one too :)

  155. Peter Williams Says:

    My mother taught me as a child a version of this rhyme which she had been taught by her parents who were 7th generation Americans from total English background:
    (Starting with the pinky)
    Little Pea
    Polly Lou
    Lulu Whistle
    Sarah Hustle
    (And ending with the big toe, wiggling it, and in a slow, deep voice)
    And Great Big Tom Bumble!

  156. george Says:

    this is my mother’s version of the rhyme for counting toes – or at least as close as I can present it phonetically – I remember it as basically nonsense words

    eeden peeden
    peeden ruden
    ruden whistle
    maiden hustle
    great big gobble gobble

  157. Joyce Says:

    When I was growing up my mother, who was from Maine said the following toe rhyme:
    (Starting with the big toe)
    Tom Bomble
    Fodd Hossel
    Mary Whistle
    Penny Roo
    Auntie Pee (Pee is prolonged-P-e-e-e-e-e)

    I was curious about this toe rhyme and typed it into the search engine. I find the variations so interesting!

  158. Ali Says:

    Hi — My Dad’s grandfather moved from Norway to WI in the late 1800s and I think that this toe game came from him. My dad used to do it on my siblings and me and his grandkids, but he has passed away and I can’t remember much more about the origin of this:

    Starting from pinkie toe
    Titil
    Tatil
    Spillarus
    Margarus
    Stargobleizen (grabbing/shaking big toe with a deeper voice)

    I’ve seen a few similar names above, but I was really looking for the “Stargobleizen!” (however it is spelled). As I’m reading through these, it seems like we might all be involved in a long duration game of telephone based on the variations. Cool message board.

  159. Claire Says:

    My Grandmother was the child of Norwegian parents who emigrated to New Zealand. My father taught me the fingers and the toes but I can only remember the toes except for the little finger which was little Peter Jensen. The toes, starting with the big toe went like this (phonetically):

    Krubahest
    Magafroot
    Tootil
    Tillaroot
    Leetatoe

  160. Jane Morgan Says:

    I have been trying to remember what my mom called the toe names for years. Her sisters don’t recall it in their family so I think she got it from my German Grandmother who originally settled in Wisconsin. These are the ones I can recall;

    Pinky, Irinky, long limbpot, potlicker lou-sin Konicker
    Tom a tut, slick a put, ———– can’t remember the rest

    Any input would be appreciated, Jane

  161. Linda F. Says:

    The following version of the rhyme has been passed down in the Aderholdt family. Our ancestors left Germany in 1727 and landed in PA. They relocated to the Piedmont of North Carolina about 1760.

    Little Pea
    Patta Roo
    Ruda Whistle
    Modda Rossle
    and………….Great Big Ole Toe-with lots of toe shaking.

    We had a family reunion today and this rhyme was mentioned and is still being taught to our children!

  162. Lisa Says:

    That’s great (all of these!). Would you or anyone else like to send a recording?

  163. Ellen Dumm Says:

    My grandmother was Welsh- from southern Ohio – and taught us a Welsh version of the toe nicknames similar to these – and I won’t come anywhere close to the Welsh language, but it is (phonetically):

    Bys Boosten
    Tom Schoonken
    Long Haary
    Short Daavey
    Willy bik bik bik (I believe it’s bach, the work for short in Welsh but don’t know how it’s pronounced)

    If anyone has the original Welsh, I would love to have it. Can’t find it anywhere – and can’t believe she just made it up.

  164. lil Oscar Says:

    my grand dad had a toe rhyme i always thought it had something to do with the railroad as he worked many many years ago gramps died in 74.
    “Chicopee….Penny rou …Road Whistle…Mary Hustle …. and Old Thom Bumble. his version of This little piggie.. his mother came from Scotland. she was a highlander.

  165. lil Oscar Says:

    gramps was born in 1889 and he was a Scot

  166. motengator Says:

    Here’s how I learned it (Spelling not important) Icky Pea Penny Ooh
    Ooh Whistle May Ossel Great Big Tom Bumble. It started with the small toe and went to the big toe. I never realized how many different versions there were.

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