The Crocodile Song

I do not know the origins of The Crocodile Song, don’t know who wrote it or when, never heard anyone else sing it.

My father would have been 84 tomorrow. There’s a guy, Ray, who was my friend from second to ninth grade. He went to a different high school, and moved to the Finger Lakes region of New York State. However, I was in his wedding in October 1976, and I got to escort his mother, who was the Den mother of our Cub Scout troop, down the aisle.

He’s now my Facebook friend. About a month ago, unbidden, he started sending these messages, a verse at a time:

“Sung by: Les Green
To the kids of the ‘50s and ‘60s at Daniel S. Dickinson, PS #9 School, Binghamton, NY

“The Crocodile Song”
First verse
Come gather around me children to tell the truth I’m bound
Here’s a story when I went to sea and the wonders that I found
Ship wrecked was I one lonely day and cast upon the shore
Now I decided to wonder way the country to explore, explore the country to explore
So I sang, toddle oddle oddle oddle oo I ey, toddle oddle oddle oddle oo I ey
Now, I decided to wonder way the country to explore

Second verse
Well, I had not long walked when there beside the ocean
I saw something move, like all the world in motion
Now I creep up beside the thing, it was a great big crocodile
From the end of his nose to the tip of his tail was about 500 miles, yes about 500 miles
So I sang, toddle oddle oddle oddle oo I ey, toddle oddle oddle oddle oo I ey
From the end of his nose to the tip of his tail was about 500 miles

Third verse
Now I could plainly see this was none of the common race
For I had to climb a tall tall tree before I could see his face
The wind was blowing so hard up there, it blow with a gale form the south
and I lost my grip on the big tall tree and fell smack dab in the crocodile’s mouth, yes smack dab in the crocodile’s mouth
So I sang, toddle oddle oddle oddle oo I ey, toddle oddle oddle oddle oo I ey
I lost my grip on the big tall tree and fell smack dab in the crocodile’s mouth

Fourth verse
Now I could see this crocodile was going to nab a victim….. me !
so I ran down his throat you see, and that’s the way I tricked him. see?
Now I wandered around for a year or two, until I reached his craw (that’s his stomach)
There was a rum case, not a few, and a thousand pullets (little chickens) in store in store, a thousand pullets in store
So I sang, toddle oddle oddle oddle oo I ey, toddle oddle oddle oddle oo I ey
There was a rum case, not a few, and a thousand pullets in store”

Final verse
Now the crocodile grew very very old and at a great long last, he died
It took him about six months to catch a cold he was so long and wide
His skin was about 10 miles thick, I think, or some where there about
For I was fully six months digging my way out, yes digging my way out
So I sang, toddle oddle oddle oddle oo I ey…, toddle oddle oddle oddle oo I ey
For I was fully six months digging my way out
and I got out just in time to come here and sing this song for you!

Ray wrote, “I think we all can remember every word of every song he sang.” Yes, twice a year, from when I was in kindergarten to fifth or sixth grade, my father came to our elementary school and sang songs to my class. Did the same for my sisters, the elder one for sure, since he often sang to each class on the same day. It was always slightly embarrassing when he sang Irene Goodnight, since there was a girl named Irene in the class, and the scuttlebutt was that I put him up to singing the song because I had a crush on her, which I did not.

I do not know the origins of The Crocodile Song, don’t know who wrote it or when, never heard anyone else sing it. There’s another Crocodile Song on the Internet, but it ain’t this one!

I know I sang at my baby sister’s class – specifically remember The Old Lady and the Fly – when she was in kindergarten and I was in 6th grade. Leslie and I also sang at our niece Alex’s class several years ago, part of the Les Green tradition.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. i hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

5 thoughts on “The Crocodile Song”

  1. There is also one online called The Wonderful Crocodile that is an old folk song and it is very similar to this song. See contemplator.com/sea/crocdile.html

  2. Rose – ABSOLUTELY an antecedent to that song; Burl Ives, of course, tho I have no recollection of my father listening to Ives

  3. The Crocodile song was sung by Jimmy Rogers on his
    1961 ROULETTE. ALBUM TITLE: JIMMIE RODGERS SINGS FOLK SONGS.
    SR-250521

  4. Oh thank youu for publishing the lyrics. My grandfather sang this to me as he played a guitar while I was growing up and now I wanted to share it with my children. I couldn’t remember all of the words and I was looking all over the internet for the version that I partially remembered. This is the one and only website that I could find it on using the lyrics that I could remember. Thank you, thank you, thank you. My grandfather is now in his late 80s and may not remember how to sing it. I plan to try to have my children hear him, now that I can help sing along. Such a wonderful gift you have given my family and I. Thank you!

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