As I was going to St Ives

“As I was going to St Ives” is a riddle rhyme, having its origins in the 18th century England. Most probably St Ives refers to an old village in Cornwall, England.

The riddle is more of a logical problem than a mathematical one; still the answer to the riddle is uncertain: How many were going to St Ives? Actually we need to find out who is finally going to St Ives?

  • Only the narrator is going?
  • The narrator with the man he meets?
  • The narrator together with all the people he meets up?
  • Are also all the animals counted?
  • Or perhaps the riddle is even more complicated: Kits, cats, sacks, wives / how many were going to St Ives? In this case the answer would be none.

Bellow will find the modern version of the song, first published in 1825.

“As I was going to St Ives” Lyrics

As I was going to St Ives
I met a man with seven wives
Every wife had seven sacks
Every sack had seven cats
Every cat had seven kits
Kits, cats, sacks, wives
How many were going to St Ives?