The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Over the River and Through the Woods

Concerning Grandmother - Christmas Day

Words: Based on the poem by Lydia Maria Child
Compare the Original: Over The River And Through The Wood
(About Grandfather on Thanksgiving!)

MIDI / Noteworthy Composer
MIDI and derived Noteworthy Composer score from Laura's MIDI Heaven

1. Over the river and through the woods
To Grandmother's house we go.
The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
Through white and drifted snow.

2. Over the river and through the woods,
Oh, how the wind does blow.
It stings the toes and bites the nose
As over the ground we go.

3. Over the river and through the woods
To have a full day of play.
Oh, hear the bells ringing ting-a-ling-ling,
For it is Christmas Day.

4. Over the river and through the woods,
Trot fast my dapple gray;
Spring o'er the ground just like a hound,
For this is Christmas Day.

5. Over the river and through the woods
And straight through the barnyard gate.
It seems that we go so dreadfully slow;
It is so hard to wait.

6. Over the river and through the woods,
Now Grandma's cap I spy.
Hurrah for fun; the pudding's done;
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie.

William L. Simon, ed., Readerís Digest Merry Christmas Songbook (1981)

At one time, "Over the River and Through the Woods" was a favorite song of the Thanksgiving season. It detailed the delights of a sleigh ride to Grandmotherís house and the goodies that would be found there by children and adults alike. But over the years, this jolly tune, which probably dates from the 1870s, has come to be associated with Christmas instead. In an old book of carols, there exists a published version of the song that dates back to 1897 and bears the name "Edw. Trotter, Rev." as composer, but the attribution is somewhat suspect. The book also includes "The First Noel, 'and the Reverend Mr. Trotter also listed himself as composer of that carol and of several other traditional tunes in the collection. Nevertheless, "Over the River" must have been familiar enough that members of Trotterís congregation would have forgotten its actual composer and been willing to accept their preacherís word that he wrote it. (Or, possibly, he did.).

Each year, Gene Keyes kindly provides to me a link to a Christmas carol which he has translated into Esperanto. This year, the song is Over the River and Through the Woods, (Trans la Rivero kaj Tra l' Arbar). Links to all of his Christmas carols can be found at Yuletide Carols-Jula Karolaro. Thanks, Gene!

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