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Old Mother Leary (or "There'll be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight")

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(or "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow")

Written by unknown | Copyright unknown

Late one night
When we were all in bed
Old Mother Leary
Left a lantern in the shed

And when the cow kicked it over,
She winked her eye and said,
"There’ll be a hot time
In the old town, tonight."

Spoken: 
"FIRE, FIRE, FIRE!"


Expanded version, most familiar in Chicago:

5 nights ago,
when we were all in bed
Old Mrs. Leary left the lantern in the shed
and when the cow kicked it over,
she winked her eye and said
it'll be a hot time, in the old town, tonight!
FIRE FIRE FIRE!

4 nights ago,
when we were all in bed
Old Mrs. Leary left the lantern in the shed
and when the cow kicked it over,
she winked her eye and said
it'll be a hot time, in the old town, tonight!
FIRE FIRE FIRE!

3 nights ago,
when we were all in bed
Old Mrs. Leary left the lantern in the shed
and when the cow kicked it over,
she winked her eye and said
it'll be a hot time, in the old town, tonight!
FIRE FIRE FIRE!

2 nights ago,
when we were all in bed
Old Mrs. Leary left the lantern in the shed
and when the cow kicked it over,
she winked her eye and said
it'll be a hot time, in the old town, tonight!
FIRE FIRE FIRE

1 night ago,
when we were all in bed
Old Mrs. Leary left the lantern in the shed
and when the cow kicked it over,
she winked her eye and said
it'll be a hot time, in the old town, tonight!
FIRE FIRE FIRE!

Note — other "rounds" can be concluded with

  • Water, Water, Water!
  • Jump, Lady, Jump!
  • Save my Child, Save my Child!
grandma
For parents
The risk of injury or death from fire is highest among children under age 4 and is also higher in boys than girls, according to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA). Download some free activity sheets, songs, and information from the USFA to help your children understand the risks of fire.
For kids
Sue Ellen and Arthur from the PBS show have some important advice about what to do if there is ever a fire in your home. Be smart, be prepared, and be safe. Learn how to stay safe and check out other cool videos and games.
For teachers
The U.S. Fire Adminstration provides free information resources in many formats, including books, pamphlets and DVDs. You can search their catalogue by subject, media type, or keyword.
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