Trisha Shetty

A Wise Old Owl

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Form  Nursery rhyme
Language  English
Writer(s)  Traditional
A Wise Old Owl

"A Wise Old Owl" is an English language nursery rhyme. It has a Roud Folk Song Index number of 7734 and in The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes, 2nd Ed. of 1997, as number 394. The rhyme is an improvement of a traditional nursery rhyme "There was an owl lived in an oak, wisky, wasky, weedle."

Contents

Lyrics

This version was first published in Punch, April 10, 1875, and ran as follows:

One version was published upon bookmarks during the mid-1930s, and goes as follows:

History

The rhyme refers to the traditional image of owls as the symbol of wisdom. It was recorded as early as 1875 and is apparently older than that. It was quoted by John D. Rockefeller in 1915 and is frequently misattributed to Edward Hersey Richards.

During World War II, the United States army used the rhyme on a poster with the tweaked ending, "Soldier.... be like that old bird!" with the caption "Silence means security."f

References

A Wise Old Owl Wikipedia


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