Little Nancy Etticoat

DESCRIPTION: Riddle: "Little Nancy Etticoat (Nanny Goat, Hetty Cote), With a white petticoat, And a red nose; She has no hands or feet; The longer she stands, The shorter she grows." Probable answer: A lighted candle
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1842 (Halliwell); a manuscript version is thought to date from c. 1645, according to the Opies
KEYWORDS: riddle nonballad
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Opie-Oxford2 373, "Little Nancy Etticoat" (1 text)
Baring-Gould-MotherGoose #700, p. 275, "(Little Nancy Etticoat)"
Dolby, p. 185, "Little Nancy Etticoat" (1 text)

Roud #20055
NOTES [73 words]: Although this doesn't seem to be well known in folk circles today, it was famous enough in the last century that J. R. R. Tolkien rewrote it in Old English; in this version, Nancy Etticoat becomes Hild Hunecan, who wears a white tunic (tunecan). See J. R. R. Tolkien, The Annotated Hobbit, annotated by Douglas A. Anderson, second edition, Houghton Mifflin, 2002, pp. 123-125, n. 19.
For related material, see "Little Miss Nancy." - RBW
Last updated in version 4.3
File: OO2373

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2018 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.