A Wise Old Owl is a simple traditional rhyme for children with roots in the United States. It is thought to be a newer version of an old rhyme “There was an owl lived in an oak, whiskey, whaskey, weedle!.”
However, this rhyme speaks about the wisdom of the bird and encourages silence, whereas the previous original version is rather violent encouraging the shooting of the bird instead!
Ironically troops have used the song to encourage silence. During World War Two, US soldiers made a poster that referred to the song.
The poster had the following words: “Soldier…. be like that old bird!” with another caption “Silence means security.”
The call for silence makes it perfect for soothing babies to sleep, however many versions of the song online are rather upbeat which would keep most awake!
Lyrics for A Wise Old Owl
A wise old owl has a simple lyric structure with four simple lines sung on repeat. Other versions might play around with a few lines, but the below is the most common.
A wise old owl lived in an oak
The more he saw, the less he spoke
The less he spoke, the more he heard.
Why can’t we all be like that wise old bird?