Three, six, nine The goose drank wine The monkey chewed tobacco on the streetcar line The line broke, the monkey got choked And they all went to heaven in a little row boat
I was back in Philadelphia this weekend visiting my family and my dad was singing The Clapping Song to himself, and I was reminded of yet another source of the line "... and we [or 'they'] all went to heaven in a little row boat." It's in my favourite Radiohead song (and one of my favourite songs ever), "Pyramid Song," as well as the earlier Tom Waits song "Clap Hands" (from Rain Dogs, arguably his best album).
So I started to think if there was a precedent to the line, such as some religion that believes this. Arthur's Knights of the Round Table would be sent out to sea on a little boat to Avalon when they died, until such day as they are needed again. That's all I can think of offhand. This site claims that the lyrics to "Pyramid Song" are inspired by the Divine Comedy and the Egyptian Book of the Dead, among other sources, so maybe it goes back even further.
Anyway, the line feels significant in some way, like Dreyfuss's mashed potatoes in Close Encounters. This means something.