"Our Grandma was born in Glasgow in 1901 and came to Australia as a war bride in 1919. She always sang this ditty to all her children and then her grandchildren. This is our family's version..." -Julie


Asked about this song, Ewan McVicar wrote, "If you look at my "Doh Ray Me" book, pages 83 and 84, you will find other versions of the same family of rhymes, though not exactly this one. The oldest versions are said to have been a way for Cumbrian shepherds to count their flocks. Usually now considered to be a nonsensical memory test. The first line of this one has echoes of counting 1 to 4 in Scots - een, twa, three, fower. Torry rope is probably tarry rope [as on a ship?], and toosy jock is tousle headed Jock, a boy with unshevelled hair. As often happens, the second four lines have been welded on to the first four for no apparent good reason."

John S. Murray wrote: "You asked folks to let you know if they were aware of a different version of this rhyme :-

I grew up on a farm on the Garvock hill, in Kincardineshire, Scotland. This is what my mother taught me (a wee while ago, I must say!):

Inty Tinty
hitherty bitherty
Oary dorie
dicky dell
Ram tam
touse jock
You are it.

This would be used to identify who was going to 'be IT', in a game – maybe who would be the person at the dell, whilst the others ran off an hid (in Hide and Seek), or similar games.

At each word, the finger moved onto the next person, and continued thus round the group until the word IT. The person being pointed at when this word was said was designated."

Thanks and Acknowledgements

Thanks to Julie for sharing this song with us! Thanks to John S. Murray for sharing the version he knows!