Over the River and Through the Wood is a classic Thanksgiving song sung by school children during the holiday season beginning in November. Although, the poem was written in celebration of Thanksgiving, Christmas is often aptly substituted for the holiday words. Written by Lydia Marie Child (1802-1880) and first published in Flowers for Children, Vol. 2 in 1844. Ms. Child was well-known during her lifetime as a novelist, journalist, and radical abolitionist, but is best remembered today as the creator of this wonderful song. The song is believed to represent her happy memories of her annual journey to her grand parents home to celebrate Thanksgiving Day.
Ms. Child was a prolific writer and activist. One of her most notable works was the first historical novel published in the US (1824) titled Hobomok: A Tale of Early Times. It is a sympathetic portrayal of the marriage between a settler woman and Native American Indian and was written to debunk the savage image of the Native Indian. Many of her works focused on anti-slavery, a cause for which she worked diligently against all her life. A life long Unitarian, she also published (1878) a book of quotations from the worlds religious leaders titled Aspirations of the World "to do all I can to enlarge and strengthen the hand of human brotherhood."
Over the River
Written by: Lydia Maria Child
Originally titled: A Boy's Thanksgiving Day
1. Over the river, and through the wood,
to Grandfather's house we go;
the horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
through the white and drifted snow.
2. Over the river, and through the wood,
to Grandfather's house away!
We would not stop for doll or top,
for 'tis Thanksgiving Day.
3. Over the river, and through the wood-
oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes and bites the nose,
as over the ground we go.
4. Over the river, and through the wood.
with a clear blue winter sky,
The dogs do bark and the children hark,
as we go jingling by.
5. Over the river, and through the wood,
to have a first-rate play.
Hear the bells ring, "Ting a ling ding!"
Hurray for Thanskgiving Day!
6. Over the river, and through the wood-
no matter for winds that blow;
Or if we get the sleigh upset
into a bank of snow.
7. Over the river, and through the wood,
to see little John and Ann;
We will kiss them all, and play snowball
and stay as long as we can.
8. Over the river, and through the wood,
trot fast my dapple gray!
Spring over the ground like a hunting-hound!
For 'tis Thanksgiving Day.
9. Over the river, and through the wood
and straight through the barnyard gate.
We seem to go extremely slow-
it is so hard to wait!
10. Over the river, and through the wood-
Old Jowler hears our bells;
He shakes his paw with a loud bow-wow,
and thus the news he tells.
11. Over the river, and through the wood-
when Grandmother sees us come,
She will say, "O, dear, the children are here,
bring pie for everyone."
12. Over the river, and through the wood-
now Grandmothers cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun! Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!