Can Anyone Help with a Song Verison of the Rhyme, “When I was a little boy I lived by myself”?

Robin Sereghy wrote:

Hi I found this site, because I have an amazing memory, for songs from so long ago, but as a 4 year old in kindergarten so long ago 1966 my memory is not clear for names or how to find the songs I am looking for. I typed in “When I was a little boy I lived by myself” and your site had a version of the song I was taught…. Mine must have been a more modern version because there was a chorus that went…

To my wing wong waddle to my jack straw straddle to my john fear faddle, to my long ways home.

Any chance u can find this? The school music book it was in was from Miami, in 1970, I was in third grade. Two other songs I am going to go search. If I don’t find them “I”LL be back” thanks for any info in advance.

If anyone can help Robin with this song, please let us know in the comments below.

Thanks!

Mama Lisa

This article was posted on Tuesday, April 20th, 2010 at 8:50 pm and is filed under Countries & Cultures, English, English Nursery Rhymes, Languages, Mama Lisa, Nursery Rhymes, Questions, Readers Questions, United Kingdom, USA. 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.

10 Responses to “Can Anyone Help with a Song Verison of the Rhyme, “When I was a little boy I lived by myself”?”

  1. Lisa Says:

    I found this in New Outlook, Volume 131 (1922) by Alfred Emanuel Smith…

    Another song has a Mother Goose flavor, but may antedate that children’s favorite:

    When I was a little boy I lived by myself.
    And all the bread and cheese I had I
    laid upon the shelf.
    Wing wong waddle to my Jack straw straddle.
    To my John fare faddle
    To my long ways home.

    It seems to be called the Swapping Song.

  2. Lisa Says:

    Here’s another version I found in The Musical quarterly, Volume 4 (1918), edited by Oscar George Theodore Sonneck:

    Slightly less popular is the Swapping Song quoted in the American Folk Lore Journal, whose refrain hovers on the border of sense, some of the words connoting ideas if not a sequence of thought:

    When I was a little boy, I lived by myself,
    And all the bread and cheese I had I laid upon the shelf;
    Turn a wing wang waddle ding a
    Jack straw straddle ding a
    John far faddle ding,
    A long way home.

    *****

    Then I found this:

    From the old German swapping story they have made a ballad that is very amusing. The swapper starts out with a little of nothing, and finally succeeds in getting a horse, then his prosperity declines thus (with some omissions) :—

    ” Swapped my horse and got me a mule.
    Then I rode like a dog-goned fool.
    Wing wong waddle ding, John fair faddle ding,
    Jack straw straddle ding a long way home.
    ” Swapped my mule and got me a cow,
    And in that trade I just learned how.
    Wing wong waddle,” etc.
    ” Swapped my sheep and got me a hen,
    And O, what a pretty thing I had then.
    Wing wong,” etc.
    ” Swapped my rat and got me a mole,
    And the dog-goned thing went straight to its hole.
    Wing wong,” etc.

    Here’s another one I found…

    “The Swapping Song”

    When I was a little boy, I lived by myself.
    All the bread and cheese I had I put it on the shelf.

    (Chorus)
    Wing wong waddle
    To my Jack straw straddle
    To my Johnny fair faddle
    To my long ways home.

    Rats and the mice they led me such a life
    I had to go to London to get myself a wife.
    (Chorus)

    Lanes were so long and roads were so narrow
    That I had to bring her home in an old wheel barrow.
    (Chorus)

    Broke my wheelbarrow and I fall
    And down came my wheelbarrow, wife all and all.
    (Chorus)

    Swapped my wheelbarrow got me a mare
    Then I rode from fair to fair.
    (Chorus)

    I took my mare and traded it for a horse
    Then I rode from cross to cross.
    (Chorus)

    And on and on… till it ends like this…

    Swapped my cow and got me a mouse
    Then he burnt down my house.
    (Chorus)

    If anyone would like to contribute another version, that would be great!

  3. Lisa Says:

  4. robin sereghy Says:

    Thank u for this Lisa!!!!!! OH MY!!!!! I haven’t heard this since 1970 , didn’t know the name. I love technology!!!!!!

  5. Maureen S. Says:

    And THIS, my friends, is what the internet is for !!! I’m trying to sing that in the kitchen, not sure if “Jack straw straddle” is right. I learned it much slower and have no idea why I learned that song :) This guy is saying “Jack Frost saddle.”

  6. Leroy Meyer Says:

    The version I learned as a child in the 1950s, from a 78 rpm, “Young Peoples’ Songs”?, which I have song ever since:
    (rather fast syncopation)

    When I was a young man, I lived by myself,
    And all the bread and cheese I had I laid upon the shelf.

    From a wing wall waddle to a Jack straw straddle,
    From a John paw paddle to a long way home [as it seemed to me at the time].

    The rats and the mice, they gave me such a life,
    Had to go to London to git me a wife.

    Chorus [of course]

    The roads were so long and the streets were so narrow,
    Had to bring her home in an old wheel barrow. Chorus

    Well, I swapped my wife and i got me a calf,
    And in that trade I learned how to laugh. Chorus.

    I swapped my calf and I got me a cow,
    And in that trade I sure learned how. chorus

    I swapped my cow and I got me a pig,
    And then I stood and danced a gig. chorus

    I swapped my pig and I got me a horse,
    And then I road from cross to cross. Chorus

  7. Mitch Willer Says:

    Hi, I’m a music teacher from Toronto, Canada

    check out youtube: Anthony Meehl, the swapping song, for a classroom example of the game

    When I was a little boy I lived by myself, All the bread and cheese I had I laid it on the shelf.
    (refrain) wing wong waddle to my Jack Straw Straddle, to my Johnnie fair faddle to my long ways home.
    The rats and the mice they led me such a life, I had to go to London to get me a wife.
    REFRAIN
    The road were some muddy and the lanes were so narrow, Had to bring her home in an old wheelbarrow.
    REFRAIN
    Wheelbarrow broke and my wife got a fall, down came wheelbarrow little wife and all.
    REFRAIN
    Swapped my wheelbarrow got me a horse, Then I rode from cross to cross.
    REFRAIN
    Swapped my horse and got me a mare, then I rode from fair to fair.
    REFRAIN
    Swapped my mare and got me a cow, in that trade I just learned how.
    REFRAIN
    Swapped my cow and got me a calf, in that trade I just lost half
    REFRAIN
    Swapped my calf and got me a sheep, Then I rode myself to sleep.
    REFRAIN
    Swapped my sheep and got me a hen, O what a pretty little thing I had then.
    REFRAIN
    Swapped my hen and got me a rat, put it on the haystack away from the cat.
    REFRAIN
    Swapped my rat and got me a mouse, Tail caught afire and burned up my house.
    REFRAIN
    Swapped my mouse and got me a mole, that ol’ thing went straight to his hole.

  8. Bonnie Waldes Says:

    Hi. This was recorded on Young People’s Records. I am sure in the early 1950’s. Good bye Liza Jane. Song sung by Tom Glazer. I am 69 years old and still have this record.. It is a 78. Bonnie Waldes

  9. Bonnie Waldes Says:

    Goodness…I meant the other song on the record!! By Tom Glazer. Swapping Song is the Title. Sorry. Bonnie Waldes

  10. Bonnie Waldes Says:

    On YouTube…first song….Tom Glazer- Folk Songs For Singing & Dancing (Young People’s Records)

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