The earliest Dame Trot stories, beginning with the edition published in 1803 by T. Evans, use largely the same rhyme to tell a tale with a distinct pattern: Dame Trot leaves to do some kind of errand, and when she returns her cat is doing something unexpected. These shenanigans often include personifying actions, such as playing music or dancing, but in the earliest versions especially they are more commonly silly but realistic cat behavior: hunting mice, eating fish, or playing dead.

Versions: 1803, 1807, 1810B, 1811, 1820C, 1820J, 1830A, 1830B, 1835A, 1835D, 1835E, 1838A, 1840G, 1845B, 1845C, 1846, 1847, 1849A, 1850, 1850G, 1857, 1858A, 1860D, 1865A, 1870C, 1880B, 1886B, 1973B