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AKA Miss Susie, Lady with the Alligator Purse, and Tiny Tim.

This jump rope rhyme / camp fire song / nursery rhyme has been around for a long time. It originally started out as a jump rope rhyme, but these days it’s more likely to be used in a preschool sing-along or as a nursery rhyme. It has a simple melody, and young children find it funny – and of course, older kids don’t spend as much time jumping rope as they once did.

The most popular story explaining the origins of the song has it that the Lady with the Alligator Purse is Susan B. Anthony, who carried a large alligator leather purse with her when she went to make speeches supporting women’s right to vote. Many versions of the song use a Miss Susie instead of a Miss Lucy, and the original second-to-last verse was supposed to be something like:

Mumps! said the doctor.
Measles! said the nurse.
Vote! said the Lady
With the Alligator Purse.

I don’t know whether or not this story of the song's meaning is true. It doesn’t explain anything about the bath-tub swallowing or the doctor and the nurse – but then, jump rope rhymes are often a bit random.

While the version given by Maayan is pretty standard, lately educators have been toning the song down for the preschool crowd, giving the song with a less “violent” ending:

Out went the doctor.
Out went the nurse.
Out went the Lady
With the Alligator Purse.

How boring. Sometimes the verse preceding it is “In came the doctor,” etc., allowing for the children to participate physically by jumping into the circle in one verse, and then back out in the next. Older kids will no doubt prefer the more descriptive and violent version.

Anyway, here’s one final version of the song that I heard when I was a kid. It’s almost the same as the one Maayan has above, but different enough that perhaps it’s worth posting.

Miss Susie had a baby,
She named him Tiny Tim
She put him in the bathtub,
To see if he could swim
He drank up all the water,
He ate up all the soap,
He tried to eat the bathtub
But it wouldn’t go down his throat.

Miss Susie called the doctor,
The doctor called the nurse,
The nurse called the lady,
With the alligator purse

Mumps said the doctor,
Measles said the nurse,
Nonsense! said the lady
With the alligator purse

Shot said the Doctor,
Pills said the Nurse,
Nonsense! said the lady
With the alligator purse

Miss Susie punched the doctor,
Miss Susie kicked the nurse,
Miss Susie thanked the lady
With the alligator purse.

See also: Miss Lucy had a Steamboat.