Little Bo Peep
Nursery Rhyme from Mother Goose

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c.w. from top left: Mother Goose or the Old Nursery Rhymes (illus. Kate Greenaway); Denslow's Mother Goose (W.W. Denslow); Boys and Girls Bookshelf: a Practical Plan of Character Building (unknown)

Little Bo Peep nursery rhyme (skip to it)

First appearance in print: 1805

Fact: References to a children's game called "Bo-Peep" are made in Shakespeare's King Lear


  • bleating, the sound sheep make
  • crook, a cane with a curve at the top, to help walking uneven terrain
  • espied, spotted visually

True: Author Joseph Martin Kronheim turned Bo-Peep into a story with princesses and elves! You'll find the beginning just below the poem, along with a link to the full text.

Little Bo Peep

Little Bo-Peep has lost her sheep,
And can't tell where to find them;
Leave them alone, and they'll come home,
And bring their tails behind them.

Little Bo-Peep fell fast asleep,
And dreamt she heard them bleating;
But when she awoke, she found it a joke,
For still they all were fleeting.

Then up she took her little crook,
Determined for to find them;
She found them indeed, but it made her heart bleed,
For they'd left all their tails behind 'em!

It happened one day, as Bo-peep did stray
Unto a meadow hard by--
There she espied their tails, side by side,
All hung on a tree to dry.

She heaved a sigh and wiped her eye,
And over the hillocks she raced;
And tried what she could, as a shepherdess should,
That each tail should be properly placed.

This classic nursery rhyme appears in Blanche Fisher Wright's The Real Mother Goose collection.

Little Bo-Peep
(a story)
by Joseph Martin Kronheim

Little Bo-Peep was a very nice little girl. Her cheeks had a bloom on them like a lovely peach, and her voice sounded like a sweet silver bell.

But though Little Bo-Peep was as good as she was beautiful, she sometimes met with misfortunes that made her very sad. Once, when she lost her sheep, she was very doleful indeed. And this is how it happened.

One summer evening, when the sun was setting, Little Bo-Peep, who had to rise very early in the morning, felt tired, and sat down on a bank covered with daisies. Being very weary she soon fell fast asleep....

Little Bo-Peep's story continues at Project Gutenberg.

More Mother Goose nursery rhymes.

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Little Bo Peep from Walter Crane's, 'The Baby's Opera.' We turned it into a coloring book!

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