Ding, Dong, Bell
DESCRIPTION: "Ding, dong, bell, Pussy's in the well." Johnny Green (or Tam Linn) put her in. Tommy Stout pulls her out. "What a naughty boy was that, To try to drown poor pussy cat, Who never did him any harm, And killed the mice in his father's barn"
EARLIEST DATE: 1784 (Gammar Gurton's Garland, according to Opie-Oxford2)
KEYWORDS: rescue animal youth
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Bord))
REFERENCES (5 citations):
Lyle-Crawfurd2 190, "The Cat's in the Well" (1 text)
Opie-Oxford2 134, "Ding, dong, bell" (1 text)
Baring-Gould-MotherGoose #43, p. 56, "(Ding dong bell)"
Jack, p. 29, "Ding, Dong, Bell" (1 short text)
Dolby, p. 97, "Ding, Dong, Bell, Pussy's in the Well" (1 text)
cf. "Dingle Dingle Doosey" ("cat's in the well" lyric)
NOTES: The Baring-Goulds report that Katherine Elwes Thomas believed this to come from Bristol, where there was a tradition of ringing the city bells at any excuse. A plausible speculation, but no more.
The Opies, more reasonably, link this to an item in Ravenscroft's 1609 Pammelia, There are some similarities in the lyrics, but not enough to prove identity, I think. Similarly, the Opies note several uses of the phrase "Ding, dong, bell" in Shakespeare. There might be a link, but we can't prove it. - RBW
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