the story of petey the snake

The Irish are hard to beat when it comes to story telling. Don’t know if it’s the DNA, the Guinness or the Bailey’s Creme that we can thank for that, but one of the most enjoyable parts of our recent visit to the UK was hearing a lot of those funny stories. When we were in Dublin, either on our way to or from supper and a show at an Irish cabaret, we listened to a CD of a music group singing the tongue-twister of a song about Petey the little snake who couldn’t quit hissing–in the wrong place, I might add. In a search for the origins, I found that in the 1960s, a poet named Frank Mickelson (from Missouri, I believe) wrote it as a poem, but put it away into the back of a desk drawer because, as he said, it was a little risque for even those times. By 1986, it had made the rounds of the worldwide web, and it’s impossible to say who came up with it first. If you love the play on words as I do, I’ve jotted it down here in yet another version. 

*       *       *       *       *

Petey was a snake, only so big, who lived in a pit with his mother. One day Petey was hissing around the pit when his Mother said, “Petey don’t hiss in the pit, go outside the pit to hiss.” So Petey went outside to hiss. Petey was hissing all around when he finally leaned over and hissed–yep, you guessed it–in the pit again.

Petey’s Mother heard Petey hissing in the pit again, and said. “Petey, if you must hiss in the pit, go over to Mrs. Pott’s pit to hiss in her pit.” So Petey went over to Mrs. Pott’s pit to hiss in her pit, but Mrs. Pott was not at home. So he hissed in her pit anyway. While Petey was hissing in Mrs. Pott’s pit, Mrs. Pott came home and caught Petey hissing in her pit. She said, “Petey, if you must hiss in a pit, you shouldn’t hiss in my pit! Go to your own pit and hiss.” This made Petey very sad, and he cried all the way home.

When Petey got home his Mother saw him crying and said, “Petey, what’s the matter?”

Petey said, “I went over to Mrs. Pott’s to hiss in her pit but Mrs. Pott came home and found me hissing in her pit and said “Petey, if you must hiss in a pit, go on home to your own pit and hiss. Don’t hiss in my pit.”

This made Petey’s Mother very angry and she said, “Why that mean old lady. I knew Mrs. Pott when she didn’t have a pit to hiss in.”

Have a great week!



12 thoughts on “the story of petey the snake

    • Only once, though I did read it through twice or more! It was when I tried to tell it out loud around a campfire last night that my tongue got twisted. I imagine you can guess how it came out?…. 🙄

  1. Hello Aunty ! The hissing snake story is really good. Novelist Fredrick Forsyth wrote a very good short story titled “No snakes in Ireland”. It is about an Indian working for an abusive Irish boss. Unable to take the abuse any longer, he travels back to India, buys a snake, smuggles it back into Ireland and releases it into the boss’s yard. The boss spots the snake and tries to kill it but the snake manages to escape. The boss thinks the snake will die on it own soon as there are no snakes in Ireland otherwise for the immigrant to multiply. The story ends with the revelation that the imported snake was an expectant mother.

    • HA HA HA! Poetic justice, I love it! Will have to look for that book. I did notice–as did your uncle–that there were lots of Indians and Pakistanis as well in service jobs throughout the UK. Btw, there aren’t supposed to be any snakes in Hawaii either! But we sure have a lot of escaped–and released by bored owners–pythons and other slithering creatures here, particularly problematic in my old home state, Florida; as if the crocs and alligrators weren’t enough! ❗

      • The alligators and crocodiles (yes, some parts of Florida have both reptiles, and both are native to the area) are now being threatened by the really big pythons, boas, and other constrictors. They are more evenly matched than one might think. In fact,somewhere on the web there is a photo of an alligator and python of about the same size who suffocated trying to swallow each other. All because of idiots who bought pet snakes, and when they got too big, or the owners had to get rid of them, just let them loose in the swamp.

        • I do appreciate this note you left, but Petey isn’t THAT KIND of snake. I grew up in Florida so I can appreciate your chagrin about people buying “pets” and then releasing them into the outdoors. Some people as you’ve noted are just plain STUPID. What can I say?

  2. RYN: Hi, first, yes, I know about loss of padding directly. I now wear Dr. Scholes double foam pads in a half size larger shoe. That helps so much.

    I did want to mention that the words under your title are unreadable, thin grey letters on black. So sorry.


    • Yes, I’m really sorry the words don’t show up very well on black do they? Unfortunately there seems to be no way to change font or background color–at least none that I’ve found. As long as you recognize my Wintersong I guess it’ll do for now. (I’m wearing a half-size larger shoes these days myself, in order to compensate for that orthotic support I have to wear.

  3. Ah, yes, the Irish have the best stories and the world’s saddest songs. Did you learn anything about your ancestors?


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