Mary had a little lamb its fleece was white as snow;
And everywhere that Mary went, the lamb was sure to go.
It followed her to school one day, which was against the rule;
It made the children laugh and play, to see a lamb at school.
And so the teacher turned it out, but still it lingered near,
And waited patiently about till Mary did appear.
'Why does the lamb love Mary so?' the eager children cry;
'Why, Mary loves the lamb, you know,' the teacher did reply.
This American nursery rhyme, published in 1830, was written by Sarah Josepha Hale of Boston. The rhyme describes a true incident, but one which is only 'partly true'.
This rhyme is an example of a rhyme that was first written and entered the oral tradition later.