Old Card Game of Baa Baa Black Sheep and Lyrics

Lyrics of the popular nursery rhyme Baa Baa Black Sheep can be found in the old card Game of Baa Baa Black Sheep which was copyrighted in 1888 by Mcloughlin Brothers.  The Lyrics of the rhyme are believed first written in Tommy Thumbs Pretty Song Book of 1744.  The version which appears in the book is slightly different from the words which are commonly sung today.

1744 version                                                                                    Today’s Version

Bah, bah a black sheep                                                            Baa baa black sheep
Have you any wool?                                                                 Have you any wool?
Yes merry have I,                                                                      Yes sir, Yes sir
Three bags full                                                                           Three bags full
One for thy Master,                                                                  One for the master
One for thy Dame,                                                                    One for the Dame
One for the little boy                                                                And one for the little boy
That lives down the lane.                                                         Who lives down the lane.

Old Card Game of Baa Baa Black Sheep

1888 Card Game of Baa Baa Black Sheep

In the card Game of Baa Baa Black Sheep, there are 32 cards.  During game play they are to be paired with their match.  They are matched according to the letters placed in the upper left corner of each card.  The matching of these letters and the cards corresponds to the words on the card.

There are 5 ‘The Black Sheep’s Master’ cards.  These will match with the 5 cards of ‘The Black Sheep and a Bag of Wool for the Master.’  (There are 2 A’s worth 3 points, 2 B’s worth 3 points, and 1 C worth 6 points of the Black Sheep’s Master’s and his bag of wool cards)

The Black sheep's master and bag of wool

The Black Sheep’s Master and Bag of Wool

Then there are 5 ‘The Black Sheep’s Dame’ and ‘The Little Boy who lives in the Lane’ cards which have matching cards of ‘The Black Sheep and a Bag of Wool for the Dame or the Little Boy Who Lives in the Lane.’  These cards also have different letters and point values assigned to them.

Black Sheep and The Dame

The Dame and the Bag of Wool

baa baa black sheep card

Little Boy and Bag of Wool


The last 2 cards are ‘The Black Sheep’.  They form their own pair and are worth 10 points.

baa baa black sheep

The Black Sheep Card

The game is played by shuffling the cards, placing 4 face up in the center and dealing 4 to each player.  The player to the left of the dealer goes first.  He tries to make a match from a card in his hand to a card on the table.  If he can do so, he takes the pair and sets it aside.  If he can’t, he places a card from his hand into the center of the table with the others.  It is then the next players turn.

Play moves around the table.  Once all cards are used from the player’s hands, they are dealt 4 more cards from the deck.  If there are not 4 cards for each, then the cards are dealt one by one until all used.

The last person able to make a match takes the remaining cards (if there are any) from the center.  The points of the card are then added up by each player.  The winner is the one with the most points.

Although it is a simple old game, Baa Baa Black Sheep offers a peek into the past.  The nursery rhymes were loved by all and games which used them are among some of the favorites.

Jenny Kile

Admin. of All About Fun and Games. Along with being an avid collector and player of table top games, I am a writer, researcher, treasure hunter, and Founder of Kardtects ( kardtects.com. ) I believe fun is everywhere and you are welcome to visit my other sites: mysteriouswritings.com (which explores mystery, adventure and the search for treasures) and kardtects.com (which takes building card houses to completely new levels. Kardtects is the next generation of card house building!) Email: Jennykile@outlook.com

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