This song is sung all across the Spanish speaking world.


You can find "Larán, larán, larito" with different spellings, i.e. as "Lará, lará, larito".

This song has many variations that you can find online. Here are some of them. The numbers tell the starting point where the variation differs from the Spanish version above.

Si le hincas la uña, (If you dig your nail in it)
larán, larán, larito,
si le hincas la uña,
te cortaré el rabito. (I'll cut your tail.)

La uña se la hincó, (It dug its nail in it)
larán, larán, larito,
la uña se la hincó
y le cortó el rabito. (and she cut off its little tail)

A confesar la falta (To confess her sin)
larán, larán, larito,
a confesar la falta,
se fue al padre Benito. (She went to see Father Benedict.)

A vos padre me acuso, (To you, father, I confess)
larán, larán, larito,
a vos padre me acuso,
que le corté el rabito. (To cut off its little tail.)

De penitencia pongo, (For penance, I sentence you)
larán, larán, larito,
de penitencia pongo,
que le des un besito. (To give it a kiss.)

El beso se lo dio, (She gave it a kiss)
larán, larán, larito,
el beso se lo dio,
y le creció el rabito. (And the tail grew again.)


Gato no eches la uña (Cat, don't dig your nail in it,)
larán, larán, larito
Gato no eches la uña
Y destroces el quesito (And destroy the cheese.)

El gato echó la uña (The cat dug its nail in it)
larán, larán, larito
El gato echó la uña
Y estropeo el quesito (And ruined the cheese)

La pastora enfadada (The angry shepherdess)
larán, larán, larito
La pastora enfadada
Le cortó su rabito* (Cut off its little tail.)

*In some version she kills the cat ("dio muerte a su gatito").


- A Dios, Padre, me acuso, (To God, Father, I accuse myself)
larán, larán, larito,
a Dios Padre me acuso,
que he matado a un gatito. (Of murdering a little cat.)


De penitencia te echo (For a penance, I sentence you)
Larán, larán, larito
De penitencia te echo
Que reces un credito*. (To saying a little "Credo" prayer.)

El credo lo rezó (She said the "Credo" prayer)
Larán, larán, larito
El credo lo rezó
Y el cuento se acabó. (And the tale is over.)

*Credo is Latin for "I believe", it's the title of a Christian prayer. Catholic priests often give prayers to recite as a penance for sins.


Some versions have this ending…

Y aquí acaba la historia, (And here ends the tale)
Larán, larán, larito
Y aquí acaba la historia
Del gato y el quesito (Of the cat and the cheese.)

You'll notice that some versions are more about morals than others.

Game Instructions

This song can be sung as a circle game in which two children in the middle of the circle play the part of the cat and the shepherdess. They mime the actions of the song. The shepherdess chooses someone in the circle to be the confessor by kneeling in front of her/him. In the next game, the confessor and the child next to her/him assume the roles of the cat and the shepherdess.


There's a French song with the same theme called Il était une bergère.



Thanks to Monique Palomares for the mp3 recording!

Sheet Music

Sheet Music - Estaba una pastora

Thanks and Acknowledgements

Many thanks to Jorge who was born in Cuba for pointing out this song to us and for sending the first verse. Many thanks to Monique Palomares for contributing and translating the song (with Lisa Yannucci), for the midi and the sheet music.

¡Muchas gracias!