Foxy’s Hole


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What is a Nursery Rhyme?

A nursery rhyme is a short rhyming song or poem that conveys a lesson or tells an amusing story. They are aimed at children.

‘Foxy’s Hole’ is a popular nursery rhyme that originated in Tudor England. The reference to a fox as “foxy” makes a child more comfortable with this creature. Childhood is a state when parents make them aware of their surroundings. In this case, nursery rhymes help parents to teach children easily. A sense of rhyming along with the concepts fluidly served makes rhyme one of the best ways to impart preliminary knowledge to kids. ‘Foxy’s Hole’ is one of the nursery rhymes popular with parents as well as kids.

Foxy's Hole
Nursery Rhyme

Put your finger in Foxy's holeFoxy's not at homeFoxy's out at the back doorPicking at a bone
Foxy's Hole


‘Foxy’s Hole’ is a nursery rhyme that talks about putting a finger in the fox’s hole to find if it’s there or not.

‘Foxy’s Hole’ is a popular nursery rhyme that introduces a child to the habitat of a fox. A parent tells her child to put her finger in a foxy’s hole. Then the parent enquires if the creature is at home or not. After finding the foxy with her finger for a few moments, it seems that the child can’t find it. Then her parents tell her that foxy might have gone out the back door of its house. The child can ask her mother or father why the foxy is out the back door. Then the parent answers that it might be picking at or eating a bone.


‘Foxy’s Hole’ is a four-line nursery rhyme that has an innovative rhyme scheme. It doesn’t end with a similar consonant sound. One can find the rhyme in the vowel-sound. For reference, every line of the poem ends with the “o” sound. It sounds like the “au” vowel-sound. Apart from that, the first line contains eight syllables. The second line has five syllables and the third line has seven syllables. And the last line has five syllables. The first two feet of the first line are trochaic and the last two feet are iambic. The second line is in the trochaic trimeter and the last foot is catalectic. In the third line, the last foot is a spondee and the previous foot is a pyrrhic. However, the last two lines begin with the anacrusis.

Literary Devices

‘Foxy’s Hole’, the title of this nursery rhyme is a metaphor itself. Here, one refers to the hollow made by fingers as the foxy’s hole. In the second line, this hole is compared to “foxy’s home”. Here, the thumb finger represents the “foxy”. Apart from that, the second and third lines begin with the same word “Foxy’s”. Hence, it is an example of anaphora. An anaphora is a literary device in which two or more lines beginning with the same word. In the third line, there is anticipation. If the foxy isn’t at home, it might have gone out. Then the question comes, from which door it has gone out. Then, the parent anticipates that it might have slipped through the back door of its house.

However, in the last line, the “bone” associates a piece of meat. In this way, it becomes an example of synecdoche. And, the variety used here is “part for the whole”. “Bone” is a part of the body that figuratively represents the whole body.

Analysis of Foxy’s Hole

Lines 1–2

Put your finger in Foxy’s hole

Foxy’s not at home

‘Foxy’ Hole’ is a children’s rhyme. The rhyme depends totally on imagination. First of all, it’s a kind of game associated with a verse. In this game, one puts his or her index and middle finger of one hand over the index and middle finger of the other hand. It leaves a hole in the middle for the child to put his little finger in. After making this shape with the fingers, a parent urges her child to put her finger in the imaginary Foxy’s hole. When the child enters her finger into the hole, then the parent asks her if Foxy is there or not.

Moreover, when the child puts her finger into the hole, the parent has to gently nip her finger with the fingernail of her thumb. It gives a message to the child that Foxy is there, touching her soft finger.

Lines 3–4

Foxy’s out at the back door

Picking at a bone

The last two lines of ‘Foxy’s Hole’ is the second part of this game. Whatsoever, the child becomes happy to imagine that her mother’s finger is the Foxy itself. After giving the fun element to a child through this game, the parent has to make her think. For this reason, she quickly stops nipping at the child’s finger. Consequently, the child becomes thoughtful. She starts to think, “What happened? Where is my little Foxy?” Then the parent informs her child that Foxy has gone out the back door in the meantime. Naturally, the child asks the reason. Then the parent adds, it is picking at a bone. It means that Foxy is hungry after playing with the child. So, it needs to eat something.

In this way, the child receives a message that her little friend is aware of when to eat and when to play. Like her friend Foxy, she should eat what her mother is going to feed her. Apart from that, there is an interesting repetition of a sound in this nursery rhyme. The first and last lines start with the “p” sound. And the second and third lines begin with the consonant sound “f”. Moreover, the falling rhythm associated with the rising rhythm creates a playful mood throughout the poem. Such a sound pattern inserts a rhythm of activity and playfulness in a child’s mind.

Historical Context

‘Foxy’s Hole’ is a popular nursery rhyme for children. Parents sing this rhyme while playing the ‘Foxy’s Hole’ game with their children. It is believed that the rhyme originated in England in the Tudor period. After the Wars of the Roses (1455-1487), the Tudor family rose to power. The dwelling houses namely House of Lancaster and House of York were united at the end of the Wars of the Roses. Henry Tudor or Henry VII descended the throne of England in 1485. From then on, the Tudor period started and it ended in 1603 with queen Elizabeth’s death. The nursery rhyme became famous in this period.

Similar Nursery Rhymes

Like ‘Foxy’s Hole’, here is a list of a few nursery rhymes that make a child think and help a parent to nourish her child’s imagination power.

You can find Our List of Popular Nursery Rhymes here.

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A complete expert on poetry, Sudip graduated with a first-class B.A. Honors Degree in English Literature. He has a passion for analyzing poetic works with a particular emphasis on literary devices and scansion.
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