Ding Dong Dell Pussy’s in the Well

Ding Dong Dell Pussy’s in the Well

by Ruth
(County Durham,England)

Little Ruthie - the pussy that was in this particular well

Little Ruthie - the pussy that was in this particular well

My only claim to fame when volunteering for Cats Protection was when our local newspaper printed the article entitled 'Ding Dong Dell, Pussy's in the Well'

Our CP co-ordinator had sent Babz and I to the garden of an empty house because the people next door had spotted a feral cat with 2 little kittens there, but for the last few days there was only one kitten all alone.

The garden was very overgrown and we searched the shrubbery until we found the kitten, but it panicked and ran. Babz saw it disappear under some piled up wood. When we moved it, to our horror it had been covering an open well and the kitten was about 4 feet down on a tiny ledge.

Ding Dong Bell nursery rhyme
"Bell" is sometimes changed to "Dell". Picture from Wikipedia Commons Author: Sabrebd

Without thinking about it I jumped in, just beating Babz to it as she'd have done the same! Thankfully the well was dry and the bottom quite firm.The kitten was terrified, spitting and hissing but I managed to get hold of it and pass it up to Babz who was hanging over the edge. She popped it into a cat cage with a dish of food, the poor little soul was starving and filthy dirty.

I searched every crack and crevice in case the other kitten was down there too, but it wasn't. Only then I wondered how I'd get back out. The man who had phoned had come by then and stood scratching his head, what can we do he asked? But somehow with Babz help I dragged myself up the side and eventually got out. I was as filthy as the poor kitten by then!

We collapsed in fits of giggles as the man seriously said he needn't have worried as he could see it was the sort of thing we did every day.(I think not lol) We searched the garden and all around the area for a long time for the mother and other kitten but then the man announced he'd heard terrible screaming in the night.

Sadly we had to accept that something must have happened and only the one kitten had survived it. He promised to phone us if there was any sign at all of the others, but we never did hear any more.

The co-ordinator christened the kitten Ruthie in my honour and told the story to the local paper. I felt a bit of a fraud as it could just as easily have been Babz who'd gone down that well and she has been up on high rooftops where I daren't venture, many times.

The story had a happy ending as the kitten was young enough to tame and she eventually got a wonderful home.

Looking back now, in my mind that well seems about 10 feet deep but of course it wasn't or I'd never have got out so easily.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth


Hi Ruth.... Great story. Passion, commitment, courage. It has it all..!

Here is the most modern version of this English nursery rhyme:

The most common modern version is:

Ding, dong, bell,
Pussy’s in the well.
Who put her in?
Little Johnny Green.
Who pulled her out?
Little Tommy Stout.
What a naughty boy was that,
To try to drown poor pussy cat,
Who ne’er did him any harm,
But killed all the mice in the farmer's barn

The word "bell" is often changed to "dell" it seems. It must have evolved.

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Ding Dong Dell Pussy's in the Well

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May 19, 2012 Wonderful! NEW
by: Anonymous

What a wonderful story!


Dec 15, 2011 grubby ruth (& ruthie)
by: leanne

ruth has just told me about this adventure of her and babz and the picture in my minds eye of ruth looking up and babz looking down, both thinking 'now what do we do' VERY FUNNY
'well' done!!!!!


Jan 09, 2010 My sis is very modest
by: Barbara

I suppose I would have gone down that well because I wouldn't leave a kitten in distress anywhere, but while I was still thinking Rats? Mice? How? our Ruth was already down the well!

It was quite an operation getting her out, but between us, Ruth climbing, me dragging, eventually she was laid on the edge of it gasping for breath, not from exertion but from laughing.

Little Ruthie went to live with an older lady eventually, not too far away from us, and the last we heard she had taken over the house.

My nightmares have faded now about Ruth going down, down, down never to be seen again...........


Jan 09, 2010 Little Ruthie
by: Jan Plant

Oh,Ruth! I just can picture you and Babz out there peeking over the edge of that well!LOL! What an Angel you are.I just loved this story.Thank you so much for sharing it.


Jan 09, 2010 You are a star!
by: Everycat

Ruth you are a star (as is Babz) - there aren't many people who'd be jumping into a well or grubbing about in awful places to save a tiny kitten (that picture of Ruthie shows an adorable kitten)

Amazes me that the people who ring up for help just become totally helpless and won't have a go themselves. Must be some sort of learned helplessness.

I'm so glad little Ruthie got a home!

Jane xx



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