Toes Nursery Rhyme – Iran

My informant is Persian, but was born and raised in America. Her mother used to sing a Persian nursery rhyme that was very similar to the American version of “This Little Piggy.” For those unaware of “This Little Piggy”, it involves pointing to each toe with a corresponding line in the song. My informant did not know the original lyrics in Farsi to the nursery rhyme, but she gave me her own translation of the song:

*Point to pinky toe*

The first toe is a bird that tries to drink water out of a pond and it falls into the water.

*Point to ring toe*

The next toe says let’s go steal something.

*Point to middle toe*

And the next one says what shall we go steal.

*Point to long toe*

And the other says gold jewelry.

*Point to big toe*

And the next one says I have a big head.


My informant said that the song in Farsi had a lot of words that rhymed. This is a common attribute of nursery rhymes since it makes it easier for children to remember and sing. This Persian song and “This Little Piggy” both utilize the physical body in singing the song; this physical attribute is also another common component of nursery rhymes. Typically the parent is the one to point to the child’s foot while singing the song, and at the end they tickle the child’s foot. I think that this action creates a bond between the parent and child as the child is anxiously waiting for the moment to come.