This little piggy went to market,
This little piggy stayed at home,
This little piggy had roast beef,
This little piggy had none.
And this little piggy went…
“Wee wee wee” all the way home…
This Little Piggy poem was first published in 1728. Wow can you imagine how many piggy toes have been jiggled since then?
History of the poem via Joe Offer of the Mudcat Cafe Forum:
There’s an entry in the Opies’ Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes:
This little pig went to market,
This little pig stayed at home,
This little pig had roast beef,
This little pig had none,
And this little pig cried, Wee-wee-wee-wee-wee, I can’t find my way home.
The first line of this infant amusement is quoted in a medley, ‘The Nurse’s Song’, written about 1728 and included by Ramsay in the fourth volume of The Tea-Table Miscellany (1740). It is the most common toe or finger rhyme in the present day, and has been so for more than a century.
FT Thumb’s LSB, C. 1760 / MG’S Melody, c. 1765, ‘This Pig went to Market, That Pig staid at Home; This Pig had roast Meat, That Pig had none; This Pig went to the Barn Door, And cry’d Week, Week, for more’
Songs for the Nursery, 1805 / Vocal Harmony, c. 1806 / Nurse Lovechild’s DFN, C. 1830 / Girl’s Own Book, Mrs. Child, 1831  This Little Pig Went to Market, Walter Crane, 1869
N & Q, 1890, 3rd finger ‘This little pig had bread and butter’; 1891, ‘This little pig said, Me a bit, me a bit, me a bit, before it all be gone’
Pigling Bland, Beatrix Potter, 1913 / This Little Pig Went to Market, L. Leslie Brooke, 1922.
The Opies make no note of any political implications of this song/rhyme. It’s just a finger/toe counting rhyme.
Here’s “Song for Five Toes,” also from Opie:
Let’s go to the wood, says this pig,
What to do there? says that pig,
To look for my mother, says this pig,
What to do with her? says that pig,
Kiss her to death, says this pig.
Also take a look at this one from the same source:
This pig got in the barn, This ate all the corn,
This said he wasn’t well, This said he would go and tell,
And this said—weke, weke, weke,
Can’t get over the barn door sill.
Note the various interpretations of “Wee-wee-wee-wee-wee”:
Weke, weke, weke
Me a bit, me a bit, me a bit
And cry’d Week, Week, for more’
I suppose there are political implications to some nursery rhymes, but I think perhaps we go to far in trying to read too much into too many of them. I think most are what they appear to be – just for fun.
Joe Offer posted the information above on the MudCat Cafe Forum in reply to someone who was looking for the history of the rhyme and wondering if it was related to conflicts between France and England.
Fascinating that the rhyme has been around in various forms for so long. And I personally don’t think the Little Piggy rhyme will ever go out of fashion-baby piggy toes are just too cute not to sing too.