National Pop Goes the Weasel Day








June 14 observed National Pop Goes the Weasel Day.

All around the mulberry bush

The monkey chased the weasel

The monkey thought ‘twas all in good fun

Pop goes the weasel!

A penny for a spool of thread

A penny for a needle

That’s the way the money goes

Pop goes the weasel!

This version is common in America, and a bit nonsensical. While the origins of the rhyme are not entirely clear, some of the earlier incarnations of the lyrics make definite reference to these points below:

  • the cost of buying necessities

Half a pound of tuppenny rice,

Half a pound of treacle.

That’s the way the money goes,

Pop goes the weasel.

  • habitual spending patterns (the Eagle was a pub on city road in London)

Up and down the city road,

In and out the Eagle.

That’s the way the money goes,

Pop goes the weasel.

The exact meaning of “pop goes the weasel” remains unknown, but the most popular theories reinforce the concept of addressing a cycle of fiscal hardship common among the lower classes during the 1600s.  

“Pop goes the weasel” may refer to the sound of the “weasel” or weaver’s measuring tool which makes a popping sound when the loom is in use.  

Popping was also a colloquial term for taking an item to be pawned; the weasel most likely being a coat...

Every night when I go out,

the monkey’s on the table.

Take a stick and knock it off,

Pop goes the weasel.

Scrimping and saving to afford basic necessities, living hand-to-mouth, and using alcohol to cope are all wrapped up in this song that children enjoy.  

Though first sung centuries ago, the challenge remains the same: balancing income with expenses, necessities with luxuries. Do you need to earn more or cut back on spending? Are you tracking where your money goes? Is it time to begin?

A penny for a ball of thread,

Another for a needle.

That’s the way the money goes,

Pop goes the weasel.


Rebecca Schein Gideon Y. Schein,
Rebecca R. Eddy
Gideon Y. Schein


Eddy & Schein

New York Office: 212. 987.1427

California Office: 626.395.7572


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