Last Updated: 17 February 2023

Une souris verte is a traditional French song with lyrics dating from the 18th century (and maybe from the 17th century).

The story of the song

The origins of this song are unclear. There are thus several more or less plausible interpretations to explain who the famous green mouse is.

A Vendéen soldier?

The 'green mouse' could refer to a Vendéen soldier. The green echoes the green colour of the cavalry. Hunted by republican soldiers during the Vendée war (French Revolution, 1793-1796), he was tortured to death (the oil and water would refer to the torments of boiling oil and drowning).

Vendée War. Painting by Paul-Émile Boutigny

Vendée War. Painting by Paul-Émile Boutigny

However, it would seem that no specialist book has cited Une Souris verte among the many songs generated by the French Revolution.

A witch?

The song could also refer to the witch-hunt that was conducted at the stake.

The mouse would be a woman, accused of witchcraft and trying to escape her executioners.

She would then be found guilty ("Je la montre à ces messieurs"/ I show it to the gentlemen) and smeared with oil and water before being burned at the stake.

Une souris verte

Today, the song has been expanded with many verses, some of which are very contemporary. You can let your imagination run wild and create your own!

Une souris verte

Lyrics, music, free download... let's learn more about the popular song:

Une souris verte

The lyrics in French

There are many variations of the song Une souris verte.

Part 1

Une souris verte

Qui courait dans l'herbe

Je l'attrape par la queue

Je la montre à ces messieurs

Ces messieurs me disent

Trempez-la dans l'huile

Trempez-la dans l'eau

Ça fera un escargot

Tout chaud


Part 2

Je la mets dans mon chapeau
Elle me dit qu’il fait trop chaud

Je la mets dans ma chemise
Elle me fait trois petites bises

Je la mets dans mon tiroir
Elle me dit qu’il fait trop noir

Je la mets dans la casserole
Elle danse le rock’n’roll

Je la mets dans ma chaussure
Elle me dit ça pue trop dur

Je la mets sur ma moto
Elle écoute la radio

Je la mets dans ma culotte
Elle me fait trois petites crottes

Je la mets dans ma p’tite main
Elle me fait un gros câlin

Translation of the lyrics into English

Here is an approximative translation into English:

Part 1

A green mouse
Running through the grass
I grab it by the tail
I show it to these gentlemen
These gentlemen say to me
Soak it in oil
Soak it in water
It will make a snail
All warmed up


Part 2

I put it in my hat
She tells me it's too hot

I put it in my shirt
She gives me three little kisses

I put her in my drawer
She tells me it's too dark

I put her in the pan
She dances rock'n'roll

I put her in my shoe
She says it stinks too bad

I put her on my bike
She listens to the radio

I put her in my panties
She gives me three little poops

I put her in my little hand
She gives me a big hug

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Une souris verte © French Moments

French Nursery Rhymes

My challenge for the year 2023 is to publish 80 French Nursery Rhymes lyrics and descriptions (list below). Come back as time goes by to discover the new articles:

About the author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. He has a background teaching French, Economics and Current Affairs, and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations, and a degree of Economics and Management. Pierre is the author of Discovery Courses and books about France.

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