Does Anyone Know the Song, “There were three little owls sitting in the barn inky dinky doo dum day”?

Tricia wrote:

Hi Lisa,

I am really hoping you can help me with this. I am looking for the lyrics to a children’s song. I know the song starts out like this…

“There were three little owls sitting in the barn inky dinky doo dum day”.

My grandfather has always sung that to us, and he is dying. He has sang it to my children, and I would love to teach them the song in full for them to sing to him. If you could help me I would so appreciate it. It is really important to me. Thank you in advance for any help you can offer.

Tricia

If anyone can help Tricia with her song, please comment below.

Thanks in advance.

Lisa

This article was posted on Saturday, September 27th, 2008 at 7:12 pm and is filed under American Kids Songs, Australia, Canada, Children's Songs, Countries & Cultures, English, English Children's Songs, Languages, 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.

28 Responses to “Does Anyone Know the Song, “There were three little owls sitting in the barn inky dinky doo dum day”?”

  1. Michelle Says:

    Jimmy Durante sang that song. NOt sure if you have found it by now!!

  2. Brooke Says:

    My great grandfather used to sing this to his kids and grandkids, and I sing it to my children today. Im sure the lyrics are wrong since it was passed through the years.
    There were three little owls sitting the barn
    inky dinky do dum day
    and all they could do to keep there bodies warm
    was inky dinky do dum day
    they all began to sing, do wit do woo
    im not going to sing much of this song to you
    the only thing about it thats perfectly true
    is…inky dinky do dum day…

    My great grandparents were of scotch-irish descent
    Hope this helps

    Brooke

  3. Daniela Says:

    I think Brooke’s got the first verse. Then isn’t there a verse that goes
    “and there were three little mice, sitting in the barn
    singing
    inky dinky do dum day”
    somthing goes in here, and then

    “and the three little owls, scooped up all the mice,
    inky dinky do dum day”

    anyone?

  4. Susan Holscher Says:

    I heard my mother and several of her siblings singing this song from their childhood. I sing it now to my grandchildren. I remember it as: There were three little mice sitting in the barn inky dinky do dum day.
    And they huddled up close so’s to keep each other wrm inky dinky do dum day.
    There were three little owls sitting in the barn inky dinky do dum day.
    And the practiced their song ’til the early morn inky dinky do dum day.
    Now the song the owls sang sounded so nice, closer and closer crept the three little ice.
    And the little owls gobbled them up in a trice inky dinky do dum day!

  5. Carol DeLauro Says:

    I just found this song on the internet. This song is from England. It isn’t exactly like the one you were looking for, but it’s really cute!

    Song: One Little Owl

    One little owl sitting in a tree,
    looking to see what he could see,
    Another one came and said, “Hoo -hoo,
    Here I am and I make two!”

    Two little owls were sitting on a tree,
    Looking to see what they could see,
    Another one came and said, “Hee–hee,
    Here I am and I make three!”

    Three little owls were sitting on a tree,
    Looking to see what they could see,
    “To–whit, to–whoo, to–whit, to–wee,
    Here we all are, one two three!”

  6. Ron Tranmer Says:

    My grandfather also sang it to me when I was small, and I now sing it to my grandchildren:

    There were three little mice who lived up in the barn, inky dinky do dum dey.
    They were cuddled all together just to keep their bodies warm, inky dinky do dum dey.
    Now the momma mouse said, “little mice beware, when old mr. owl sings hoo hoo, take care, because his song is nothing but a snare, inky dinky do dum dey.
    There was a mean ol’ owl who lived up in the barn, inky dinky do dum dey. He said,
    “those three little mice would make my body niice and warm, inky dinky do dum dey.
    Now the song of the owl, sounded so nice…that closer and c l o s e r crept the three little mice…..and he… GOBBLED them all up in a thrice, inky dinky do dum dey.
    Now the song of the owl, twit twoo; I don’t think much of his song do you?
    But there’s one thing abouut it…it’s perfectly true, inky dinky do dum dey.

    (We sing the line slower…,”closer and closer crept the three little mice… then he
    (then quite loud to scare the kids) GOBBLED (then softer again…) them all up in a thrice.
    Inky dinky do dum dey.

    I hope you know the music tune because that makes the song fun! i play the guitar as I sing it to the grandkids. They love it!

    Ron Tranmer

  7. Lisa Says:

    If you’d like to play it for us and/or sing it, that would be wonderful!

  8. Ron Tranmer Says:

    Lisa,
    I’m not sure how I could do that. I know it could be done because I’ve seen clips on you tube, but I’m an old guy who doesn’t understand how to do a lot with computers.
    You could e-mail me with directions if you know & think I could figure it out.
    rjtranmer@gmail.com

    Ron

  9. ed Says:

    Lisa,

    I am looking for a children song about a mouse or mice living in the house, squeak, squeake, squeak. I used to sing it to children at work and I have forgotten the lyrics. I apologize for not having anymore details. hope you can help.

    Thanks,

    Ed

  10. Monique Says:

    I found “The Haunted House” sung to the tune to “The Wheels On The Bus”

    The ghost in the house goes “Boo! Boo! Boo!”
    “Boo! Boo! Boo! Boo! Boo! Boo!”
    The ghost in the house goes “Boo! Boo! Boo!”
    On Halloween.

    The mice in the house go “Squeak, squeak, squeak.”
    “Squeak, squeak, squeak, squeak, squeak, squeak.”
    The mice in the house go “Squeak, squeak, squeak.”
    On Halloween.

    The cats in the house go “Meow, meow, meow.”
    “Meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow”.
    The cats in the house go “Meow, meow, meow.”
    On Halloween.

    There is a slightly different version here

  11. Scott Says:

    This brings back memories for me as well.

    My Grandmother used to sing that song to me when I was a child back in the early 70’s. She was born in 1898 and grew up around the US, but mostly in the Pacific Northwest. Her family was of German origin.

    None of these are quite the version I recall but the first verse is there.

    I suppose there was allot of ad lib as with any children’s song but I sure wish I could find something closer to what I heard as a child to share with my grand baby.

  12. Deb E Peck Says:

    My mother used to sing a variation to us back in the late ’40’s, and I sang it to our daughter. Our daughter drew a wonderful picture of the owls, which hangs in our kitchen.

    THREE LITTLE OWLETS

    There were three little owlets sitting in the tree; Hinky dinky doo dum day.
    All huddled up together just to keep each other warm; Hinky dinky do dum day.
    And the song they sang I will sing to you – it began and ended with a doo doo doo.
    Now I don’t think much of their song, do you? Hinky dinky doo dum day.

  13. hugh Says:

    http://www.springthyme.co.uk/ah11/

    You can buy the song on CD at sprinthyme.

  14. Debbie Says:

    There Was Three Little Owls, Singing In The Barn,
    Dinky, Dinky, Doo, Dum Day;
    All Huddled Up Together, Just To Keep Their Bodies Warm,
    Dinky, Dinky, Doo, Dum Day.

    And The Songs They Sang, I Will Now Sing You,
    It’s A Song It Begins, And It Ends Too, Hoo.
    And A Very, Very Pretty Little Song ‘Tis Too,
    Dinky, Dinky, Doo, Dum Day.

    There Was Three Little Mice, Playing In The Barn
    Dinky, Dinky, Doo, Dum Day,
    Though They Knew They Were Doing, What Was Very, Very Wrong
    Dinky, Dinky, Doo, Dum Day.

    For The Old Mouse Said, Little Mice Beware
    When The Owls Come A-Singin’ Too, Hoo Take Care
    For The Song That They Sing, It Is Nothing But A Snare
    Dinky, Dinky, Doo, Dum Day.

    Now The Three Little Mice, Thought They’d Have A Lark
    Dinky, Dinky, Doo, Dum Day
    So They Crept Out Softly, Just As Soon As It Was Dark
    Dinky, Dinky, Doo, Dum Day.

    And The Song Of The Owls, Sounded So Nice
    Closer And Closer Crept The Three Little Mice
    When The Owls Came And Gobbled Them, Up In A Trice
    Dinky, Dinky, Doo, Dum Day.

    Now The Three Little Owls, Flew Back Up In The Barn
    Dinky, Dinky, Doo, Dum Day
    And They Said Those Little Mice, Make Us Feel So Nice And Warm
    Dinky, Dinky, Doo, Dum Day.

    Then They All Commenced To Sing, To, Wit, Too, Woo
    I Don’t Think Much Of This Song, Do You?
    Well The Only Thing About It, Is It’s Perfectly True
    Dinky, Dinky, Doo, Dum Day.

  15. Debbie Says:

    I like that everyones’ version is just a littley diffrent. Mom only knew the first verse & the “3 little owls a playing inthe barn.”

  16. Terrell Schafer Says:

    I am 66 years old from Ohio. When I was a little boy my great aunt Hazel would sing this as she rocked me to sleep in a huge old oak rocking chair. All I can remember is the line “And the old owl gobbled them up in a trice.” Not much help, but if you find the song, I would love to pass it on to my nephews. Thanks.

    Terry

  17. Mickie Stamey Says:

    I am 68 years old and my uncle would sing this song, and some of the verses were the same and some were different and the verses said something about Uncle Joshua going on a trip to New England and meeting young girls and he thought the girls were pretty and then something about him being old but awfully tough and then he would laugh and laugh until everyone around him started laughing. Does anyone remember this version?

  18. Ed Stabler Says:

    I remember my mother singing this song to me as a child in the 1940s. She told me years later she remembered both her mother and grandmother singing it when she was a little girl growing up in Elmira, NY. My family’s version is very similar to Debbie’s posted above but has some slight differences, which is to be expected with a song like this. For example, the chorus in my version is “Ninky, ninky, do dum day”.

    I contacted both Jean Ritchie and Pete Seeger about the song in the 1960s; neither of them could shed any light on it.

    I’m now 73 and live in Texas, so the song has gotten around, and I often sing it as part of a school program. I plan to include my version in a forthcoming recording project. If anyone should come across the origin of the song, names of authors, etc., please leave a comment here. My guess at this point in time is that it is in the Public Domain, but you never know.

    Ed

  19. Ed Stabler Says:

    Sorry ’bout that, forgot to include the lyrics.

    Ed

    Three Little Owls Traditional/Public Domain (?)

    C
    There were three little owls, just a-sittin’ in a barn
    C G C
    Ninky, ninky, do dum day
    C
    And they were huddled up together, for to keep their bodies warm
    C G C
    Ninky, ninky do dum day
    C G
    And the song they sang, I will sing to you
    C Am D G
    It began and ended with a Too-Whoo
    F C
    And a very pretty song I think it is, too
    C G C
    Ninky, ninky, do dum day

    Now, there were three little mice, sat a-listenn’ to this song
    Ninky, etc.
    Though they knew what they were doin’ was very, very wrong
    Ninky, etc.
    For the old mice said, “Little mice, beware
    When the owls come a-singin’ Too-Whoo, take care.”
    For that song is nothing more nor less than a snare
    Ninky, etc.

    Then these three little mice, they thought they’d have a lark
    Ninky, etc.
    So they crept out very softly just as soon as it was dark
    Ninky, etc.
    And the song Too-Whoo, it sounded so nice
    That closer and closer crept the three little mice
    ‘Til the owls came and gobbled them up in a trice
    Ninky., etc.

    Then these three little owls flew back into the barn
    Ninky, etc.
    And they said, “Those little mice made feel so nice and warm
    Ninky, etc.
    And they began a-flutterin’ and a-singin’ Too-Whoo
    And I don’t think much of the song, do you?
    But the only thing is, it’s perfectly true
    Ninky, etc.

  20. Tom Says:

    Google Three little owls by Cal Stewart

  21. Lisa Says:

    Thanks for the info Tom!

    You can listen to Three Little Owls here (select #48).

  22. Ed Stabler Says:

    The tune to my family’s version is very similar to the Cal Stevens version. Does anyone know for certain if Stevens wrote this, or if he collected it somewhere?

  23. Gay Yerger Says:

    My grandmother sang this song to me many, many times. It was a little different but the basic essence. I remember her rendition well, words and tune. I don’t know about Cal Stevens but I feel it was way before his birth.

  24. David Perkins Says:

    My Dad sang this to me as a child. Just yesterday, going through a box of “stuff” dating to the period before Dad’s death, I ran across the hand written copy of this song “as he remembered it” when I asked to do it before he died. I will retrieve, transcribe, and post it ASAP.

  25. Lisa Says:

    Thank you David

  26. Beverley Polt Says:

    To Gay Yerger, who posted on June 24, 2016
    Cal Stewart died in 1919, according to the information at
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cal_Stewart

    The article does not give the source of the songs he sang. It does not say whether he himself wrote the songs nor if they were “public domain”.

  27. Maureen Says:

    Ron.. I’m so happy to see your response to Lisa’s question! My mom used to sing this little song to me when I was little. She was so dramatic about it and made it such a fun memory for me! I was trying to remember this and looked online and found this blog!
    Thank you again!

  28. John Kool Says:

    http://cylinders.library.ucsb.edu/search.php?queryType=@attr+1=1020&num=1&start=1&query=cylinder0780

    You can hear it here. We used to have it on an Edison cylinder record.

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