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Halamus Publishing - Special Article #1



Special Article #1

"The True Story of Mary's Little Lamb"

Reprinted from

The Family Monthly Magazine "St Nicholas", Vol. V., No. 8., JUNE, 1878. of the thousands of Free Books which may be downloaded from the Project Gutenberg site
(see link on Home Page).

SONG: "Mary Had A Little Lamb"

The Traditional Nursery Song: "Mary Had A Little Lamb"
is on Page 11 of:

"Folksongs for the Violin", Part 1: Discovering The Violin
(A Graded Selection of Melodies for Beginners of All Ages).

Details on the MUSIC PAGE


Saratoga Springs, N.Y. 

DEAR ST. NICHOLAS: I want to tell you what I read lately in a newspaper about Mary and her lamb. Mary herself is now a delightful old lady of threescore and ten, and this is her story:

"I was nine years old, and we lived on a farm. I used to go out to the barn every morning with father, to see the cows and sheep. One cold day, we found that during the night twin lambs had been born. You know that sheep will often disown one of twins, and this morning one poor little lamb was pushed out of the pen into the yard. It was almost starved, and almost frozen, and father told me I might have it if I could keep it alive. So I took it into the house, wrapped it in a blanket, and fed it on peppermint and milk all day. When night came, I could not bear to leave it, for fear it would die. So mother made me up a little bed on the settle, and I nursed the poor little thing all night, feeding it with a spoon, and by morning it could stand. After this, we brought it up by hand, until it learned to love me very much, and would stay with me wherever I went, unless it was tied. I used, before going to school in the morning, to see that the lamb was all right, and securely fastened for the day.

"Well, one morning, when my brother Nat and I were all ready, the lamb could not be found, and, supposing that it had gone out to pasture with the cows, we started on. I used to be very fond of singing, and the lamb would follow the sound of my voice. This morning, after we had gone some distance, I began to sing, and the lamb hearing me, followed, and overtook us before we got to school. As it happened, we were early; so I went in very quietly, and took the lamb into my seat, where it went to sleep, and I covered it up with my shawl. When the teacher and the rest of the scholars came, they did not notice anything amiss, and all was quiet until my spelling-class was called. Hardly had I taken my place when the patter of little hoofs was heard coming down the aisle, and the lamb stood beside me ready for its word. Of course, the children all laughed, and the teacher laughed too, and the poor creature had to be turned out-of-doors. But it kept coming back, and at last had to be tied in the wood-shed until school was out. Now, that day, there was a young man in the school, John Roulston by name, who had come as a spectator. He was a Boston boy and son of a riding-school master, and was fitting for Harvard College. He was very much pleased over what he saw in our school, and a few days after gave us the first three verses of the song. How or when it got into print, I don't know.

"I took great care of my pet, and would curl its long wool over a stick, Finally, it was killed by an angry cow. I have a pair of little stockings, knitted of yarn spun from the lamb's wool, the heels of which have been raveled out and given away piecemeal as mementoes."

—Yours truly,

Since reading about Mary and her Lamb in the June 1878 issue of St Nicholas (, I have found a site with the rest of the story: The TRUE Story of Mary (Sawyer) and Her Little Lamb as retold by Elsie Eunice Sawyer.

2009: That site no longer exists, but a copy of the Book is available at

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