Six “Mary Had A Little Lamb” Lipograms

mary little lamb.jpg

A lipogram is a form of constrained writing composed of words wherein a letter or a group of letters of the alphabet is avoided. Usually, the letter “e”, the most common letter in the English language is omitted. For example, Gadsby by Ernest Vincent Wright is a 1939 novel in which no word contains the letter “e”.


A. Ross Eckler Jr. has made six versions of the popular nursery rhyme Mary Had a Little Lamb, omitting first the letter S, then H, A, I and I. In the final one, only the letters, A, C, D, E, H, I, L, M, N, P, R, S, and T are used.

Without “S”:

Mary had a little lamb
With fleece a pale white hue
And everywhere that Mary went
The lamb kept her in view

To academe he went with her,
Illegal, and quite rare;
It made the children laugh and play
To view the lamb in there

Without “A”:

Polly owned one little sheep
Its fleece shone white like snow
Every region where Polly went
The sheep did surely go

He followed her to school one time
Which broke the rigid rule
The children frolicked in their room
To see the sheep in school

Without “H”:

Mary owned a little lamb
Its fleece was pale as snow
And every place its mistress went
It would certainly go

It followed Mary to class one day
It broke a rigid law
It made some students giggle aloud
A lamb in class all saw

Without “T”:

Mary had a small lamb
His fleece was pale as snow
And every place where Mary walked
Her lamb did also go

He came inside her classroom once
Which broke a rigid rule
How children all did laugh and play
On seeing a lamb in school!

Without “E”:

Mary had a tiny lamb
Its wool was pallid as snow
And any spot that Mary did walk
This lamb would always go

This lamb did follow Mary to school
Although against a law
How girls and boys did laugh and play
That lamb in class all saw

Without half the letters of the alphabet:

Maria had a little sheep
As pale as rime its hair
And all the places Maria came
The sheep did tail her there

In Maria’s class it came at last
A sheep can’t enter there
It made the children clap their hands
A sheep in class, that’s rare

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My name Edmark M. Law. I work as a freelance writer, mainly writing about science and mathematics. I am an ardent hobbyist. I like to read, solve puzzles, play chess, make origami and play basketball. In addition, I dabble in magic, particularly card magic and other sleight-of-hand type magic. I live in Hong Kong. You can find me on Twitter` and Facebook. My email is

20 thoughts on “Six “Mary Had A Little Lamb” Lipograms

  1. Fun to read! Who else have been reading the other versions with the same rhythm of the original one😋 ? it is challenging though to write lipograms by “omiting letters or vowels and keeping a “sense or meaning” to your phrases !
    Thanks for sharing !


  2. Delightful. A novel in English without “e”? A staggering achievement (wonder if it’s any good?) Sorry to say, not in my library. Wonder how many copies he sold? Thanks for visiting Under Western Skies.


      1. In Hong Kong, deed poll is very easy. Just go to a solicitor’s office and tell them the new name that you want. Wait for 30 minutes then you have your deed poll. Of course, you need to inform the HK Immigration for them to issue a new HKID, but it’s just a matter of formality.

        But as an author, changing your name isn’t practical especially if you’re already well-known 😀.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. This is interesting and fun as a challenge. I remember someone on here a year or so ago asking people to write a short story/flash fiction without using a specific vowel. Itbtakes some creativity but it’s lots of fun to do.
    Of course I never knew the technical term so thank you..:)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You may know that I like any type of constrained writing. I have done quite a few lipograms over the years and I’d say that making lipograms is almost as hard as anagrams. Many people don’t immediately realize the level of difficulty of lipograms until they try to make one themselves.

      Liked by 3 people

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