Once A Trap Was Baited…

I have fond memories of my mother telling me the first verse of this poem when I was a child. She would say the first part of a sentence and have me say the last word. I remember how I loved when she would clap here hands together when the trap closed on the poor mousey!

They Didn’t Think
Once a trap was baited
With a piece of cheese;
It tickled so a little mouse,
It almost made him sneeze.
An old rat said, “There’s a danger,
Be careful where you go!
“Nonsense!” said the other,
“I don’t think you know!”
So he walked in boldly –
Nobody in sight –
First he took a nibble,
Then he took a bite;
Close the trap together
Snapped as quick as wink,
Catching mousey fast there,
‘Cause he didn’t think.
Once there was a robin,
Lived outside the door,
Who wanted to go inside
And hop upon the floor.
“No, no,” said the mother,
“You must stay with me;
Little birds are safest
Sitting in a tree.”
“I don’t care,” said Robin,
And gave his tail a fling,
“I don’t think the old folks
Know quite everything.”
Down he flew, and kitty seized him
Before he’d time to blink;
“Oh,” he cried, “I’m sorry,
But I just didn’t think.”

 Phoebe Cary

(1824-1871)

7 thoughts on “Once A Trap Was Baited…”

  1. There are 3 additional versus.

    Little robin readbreast lived outside the door, and wanted to go inside and hop upon the floor.
    “Oh no”, said the mother “you must stay with me,
    little birds are safer sitting in a tree”. “I don’t care” said the little bird, and he gave his tail a fling. “I don’t think the ole folks know quite everything”. So down he flew, and kitty seized him before he had time to blink. “Oh”, he cried, “I’m sorry, but I just didn’t think.”

    Once there was a turkey, fond of her own way, who wouldn’t ask the ole folks where to go or stay. ” Goodness”, she said “here I am half grown, surley I’m old enough to go about alone”. So off she went, and someone spying saw her pass. Soon like snow her feathers covered all the grass. So she made a supper for some sly young mink, because she was so head strong that she just didn’t think.

    Now my little children, you who here this song, don’t you see what kind of trouble comes from thinking wrong? Won’t you take a warning from their dreadful fate, who began their thinking when it was to late. The End.

    This has been passed down in my family for years by our “Granny Easterly”. All children and adults for that matter should read and memorize this poem. it is benifical in so many ways. I have had to recit it several times through out my life to remind me to do the right thing. This poem means the world to me and my family so please pass it on to your loved ones. Maybe they will begin their thinking BEFORE it is too late.

  2. This was SUNG to me as a child and I’m now 63 years old and am singing it to my grandson. My daughter-in-law had never heard it before and wanted to know where it was from.

    I didn’t know it was a poem first but then are most song lyrics just that!

    My sister even did a story board for her 1st grade class a few years ago based on this song!

  3. I remember this song as a kid too plus one other verse that is partially in the comments. But I'm missing the last part.

    now my little children you who sing this little song. Don't you see that trouble comes from simply doing wrong? Why don't you take the warning from mouse and robin's fate? For they began their thinking when it was too late. Think not all is safety although no danger shows. Thinking you know more than anybody knows. But……..missing part.

  4. I sing two more verses to my grandchildren. one about a turkey and one about related all this to children. I thought my father had made up the song for many years.

  5. This is the way I remember the last verse.

    Now come my little children and listen to my song, Can't you see there's sorry In Doing Wrong! Stay close to mommy and soon you'll see, Little babes are safer close by mother's knee.

  6. My sister and mother, 91, were just attempting to recall this poem…. and behold here it is PLUS the real ending we never were aware existed. Thank you.

  7. I will be 70 this year and my mother used to relate this rhyme to me as a child here in New Zealand. I was thinking about it last night and lo and behold found it on the net.
    Maureen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *