St. Ives


This poem dates back to 1730.

There are several locations with the name St. Ives, and people think this either refers to St. Ives, Cornwall, or St. Ives, Huntingdonshire (England). (source)


(Traditional chant)

As I was going to St. Ives,
I met a man with seven wives.
Each wife had seven sacks,
Each sack had seven cats,
Each cat had seven kits.
Kits, cats, sacks, wives,
How many going to St. Ives?

Here’s the answer to the riddle:

Only one person was going to Saint Ives. It seems like the kittens, cats, sacks, and wives were all going in a different direction. (If everyone was going in the same direction, however, the answer would be 2,801 (7 wives, 49 sacks, 343 cats, and 2,401 kittens equal 2,800. Then you have to add one more for the person speaking.) (source)

See also

or purchase here (printables only)

  • Chant, Original tune with chords, Orff arrangement (PDF)
  • MIDI file
  • Listen to the tune

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