Please Share Your Version of “I Had a Little Mule, His Name Was Jack”

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.

Here’s another:

(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!

Mama Lisa

This article was posted on Sunday, August 15th, 2010 at 10:41 am and is filed under Children's Songs, Countries & Cultures, English, Languages, Mama Lisa, Nursery Rhymes, Questions, USA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

64 Responses to “Please Share Your Version of “I Had a Little Mule, His Name Was Jack””

  1. RoseEdda Slemp Says:

    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

  2. Jag Says:

    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!

  3. Jason Says:

    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.

  4. Debbie Says:

    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.

  5. Ashley Says:

    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.

  6. Everett Lyles Says:

    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.

  7. Erika S Says:

    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

  8. Vincent M Says:

    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!

  9. heather giffin Says:

    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.

  10. Mary Says:

    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.

  11. Janet Says:

    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.

  12. Dewanna Lindo Says:


    My grandpa said

    I had an old mule and his name was Jack.
    I pulled his tail and he peed through the crack.

  13. Brenda Says:

    My Father born 1923 Virginia. His version… I had a pony his name was Jack. I rode his tail to save his back. His back was black his belly was blue. He ran so fast he nearly flew!

  14. Jon Says:

    I learned the version (from other campers) at scout camp. Our off-color version was the same as Debbie’s and Ashley’s. We had another verse. (same tune)

    There was a man
    His name was Sam
    He s**t right in
    the frying pan.
    The Eggs he fried,
    They taste like s**t
    But we made him
    eat them, every bit.

    Wisconsin 1953.

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