Saturday, 12 May 2012

The Owl and the Pussycat

Today marks 200 years since Edward Lear was born. He was an English artist, illustrator, author, and poet, renowned today primarily for his literary nonsense, in poetry and prose, and especially his limericks, a form that he popularised.  
Almost everyone knows his nonsense poem  "The Owl and the Pussycat"                                                                     

The Owl
 and the Pussycat
 went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey,

and plenty of money,
                                          Wrapped up in a five pound note.

                                     The Owl looked up to the stars above,
                                                           And sang to a small guitar,

‘O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
You are,
You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!’


Pussy said to the Owl, ‘You elegant fowl!
How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
But what shall we do for a ring?’
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose,
His nose,
His nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.


‘Dear pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring?’ Said the Piggy, ‘I will.’
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon,
The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

Now it is confession time!   I did not tat the owl, Jane did and I borrowed it from her many years ago on the understanding that I would tat one myself and hand it back to her. I will one day, promise! But in the meantime here is the pattern.  Just looked at the top scan and think I got his beak folded under!

I did tat the cat (gosh that rhymes!) and it is taken from a book called Tatted Animals by Inga Madsen.  I have owned the book for a very long time and remember starting the elephant and then getting completely lost so gave up and have never had the bravery to go back to the book, until last week.  Now I am really looking forward to tatting some more animals from Inga's book.


  1. I love the owl and the cat, I have the book too, but I tried one of them and got lost, I think I must get the book out again and have another go.

    Nice to see an old poem come to life with some tatting


  2. Your pussycat is lovely! - and I think it was Lear, wasn't it, who had a cat called Old Foss?

  3. Thanks Margaret and Maureen - yes he did have a cat called Foss who had his tail cut off.

  4. Did I lend you an owl? I don't remember that so that means the owl is yours for keeps now!!!! There's an interesting story behind the 'why I did the owl'.
    Lovely story about Edward Lear and I didn't guess although you teased me all week about your post!!!!
    I had a cat once who lost his tail and we never found out how!!!
    Nick has a tailless cat he adopted and which lives in Cincinnati - she's called Stumpy and is a lovely cat.

  5. So cute owl and cat!!!
    I love it.
    I like owl's eye. so cute!!!

  6. What a beautiful owl. Thank you for this post. I enjoyed it.

  7. Oh, this is a very funny poem, and you animated it so well. Ha-ha ( my personal favorite is the pea-green boat ).

    Lovely cat, beautiful tatting, and perfect owl ... you can cooperat with Jane very well:)

  8. That was so enjoyable. Thank you for posting it. Love the tatting.

  9. Wonderful post! And that owl is really a prize! What character!
    Fox : )

  10. I have always loved The Owl & The Pussycat. I used to read it to the girls when they were little and then someone made a song out of it and they both loved that as well. I love your tatted owl - must try that myself.

  11. Thank you for telling us about Edward Lear. Inga's book is one of my favorites.

  12. Thank you for taking the time to do this. It's very cute.
    I like both the owl and the pussy cat.

  13. Cute post!
    Clever use of tatting to 'illustrate' a classic poem, plus your usual interesting history footnote! I think it's funny that Jane doesn't remember giving you the owl! It's another one of her brilliant patterns. And the cat by Inga Madsen is the perfect 'companion'. You did a great job on it!

  14. Both the cat and the owl look great. I, too, love how you illustrated the poem. This is one of my favorite child's poems, along with "The Gingham Dog and the Calico Cat" Would you care to illustrate that one, too?
    Thanks for the enjoyable post.

  15. Thanks for all your comments - it was a long long time ago since Jane lent me the Owl - which I now can keep whoopee! No tattridy don't think I will attempt 'The Ginham Dog and the Calico Cat"!

  16. Hi Sally

    Having had our lounge decorated, before replacing anything, DH and I have been going through all books, photographs etc.

    On browsing through my somewhat unruly and fairly old stamp collection I discovered some stamps issued to commemorate Edward Lear. The Owl and the Pussy-cat drawn sitting in a boat. The cat steering whilst the owl was playing a guitar.

  17. Some really cute things you have tatted. I just love the owl, but when I saw where I could get the pattern I was elated, wouldn't come up...;-( He is just so cute...

  18. Hi Barbara - that site is no longer in existence, sadly. Here's the current and hopefully final resting place for the owl!!!


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