There seem to be different versions of “I Had a Little Mule”. I’d love to learn more of them! Here are the first two lines which seem to be in most versions…
I had a little mule, his name was Jack.
I rode his tail to save his back.
Here’s the version from The Journal of American Folk-lore:
(From Mississippi 1909)
I had a little mule, and his name was Jack;
I rode him on his tail to save his back.
I had a little mule, and his name was Jay;
I pulled his tail to hear him bray.
I had a little mule who was quite slick;
I pulled his tail to see him kick.
This little mule he kicked so high,
I thought that I had touched the sky.
I had a little mule; he was made of hay;
First big wind come along and blowed him away.
(From East Tennessee 1908)
I had a little pony, en’ his name wuz Jack;
I rode him on his belly to save his back.
Please share the version you know in the comments below. Also let us know if you sang it or chanted it.
Thanks in advance!
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61 Responses to “Please Share Your Version of “I Had a Little Mule, His Name Was Jack””
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March 28th, 2021 at 12:56 am
My mother still sings this song to the children. She’s 86, my youngest grandchild is 3.
I had a little dog
And I named him Jack.
I put him on a possum track.
He never did come back.
He never did come back
It was the first little song all of us learned to play on the piano!
Pike County, KY
May 22nd, 2021 at 12:39 pm
The version I remember from childhood over 60 years ago)
I had an old mule and his name was Jack, I rode him on his tail just to save his back. (Go to winkle, go to winkle, dum do Lee aye.🎵
More verses but I don’t remember… but the “go to winkle” refrain I can remember well!
June 10th, 2021 at 11:34 pm
Learned from my father when I was little and now continued on to my children.
While bouncing the kids on both of your knees together, on “crack” open your knees to make the child fall. (Hold them steady so they don’t actually get hurt of course.)
There once was a horse whose name was Jack.
He went into the barn and fell through the crack.
July 16th, 2021 at 5:01 pm
My husband told this one to my grandson minus the last verse, yesterday. I had never heard it before.
I had a little dog and his name was jack.
He sh*t all over the railroad track.
The train came by, the sh*t flew high.
Struck the conductor right in the eye.
Conductor, conductor don’t blame me.
Blame that fellow behind that tree.
I stole money and he stole grass.
Mr conductor stick it up your a*s.
August 2nd, 2021 at 12:00 am
I had a dog named jack who shi*t on track, the train went buy, the sh*t flew high, and hit the conductor right square in the eye.
May 11th, 2022 at 11:35 am
I had a little dog his name was Jack he would run up and down the railroad track.
Along came a train conductor gave a squeal.
We went out and scraped Jack off the wheel.
June 20th, 2022 at 7:30 pm
My dad was born in 1924 (Arizona), and I assume this version was from his childhood:
I had an old mule; his name was Jack
I rode his tail to save his back
His tail bone broke, and I fell back
That’s what I get for riding old Jack
June 23rd, 2022 at 9:14 pm
My Grandfather was born in Anson County, NC in 1899. He taught me to sing “I’ve got an old mule and his name was Jack put him in the barn and he jumped through the crack!
September 10th, 2022 at 3:11 pm
I found a totally different version. From a copy of “Mother Goose” copy right 1941, printed by Whitman publishing Co. Racine, Wisconsin.
If I had a mule, sir, and he wouldn’t start,
Do you think I’d harness him up to a cart?
No, no I’d give him oats and hay,
And let him stay there all day.
September 13th, 2022 at 7:36 pm
My dad sang a version that went like this:
I had a little mule, and his name was Jack.
I put him in the barn, and I fed him through a crack.
He jumped so high, he jumped to the sky,
And he never came back til the fourth of July.
September 29th, 2022 at 5:20 pm
My dad always sang it this way;
I had a little dog and his name was Jack
I tied him to the railroad track
Along came a train,
choo choo choo
Cut ole Jackie’s tail in two
Well, give me a hammer
and give me a nail
and watch me fix ole Jackie’s tail.