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Civil War Blog

A project of PA Historian

Over the River and Through the Wood

Posted By on November 28, 2013

“Over the River and Through the Wood” was originally written as a 6-verse poem in 1844 by abolitionist and Indian-rights advocate Lydia Maria Child (1802-1880).  The poem is about Thanksgiving, not about Christmas, which it has generally come to be known today through popular song.

For a brief story about the activism of Lydia Maria Child, see the Wikipedia article about her.  The original poem is also found on Wikipedia.

Over the river, and through the wood,
To grandfather’s house we go;
The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
Thru the white and drifted snow.
Over the river, and through the wood —
to grandfather’s house away!
We would not stop for doll or top,
for ’tis Thanksgiving Day.
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.
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!
Over the river, and through the wood—
When grandmother sees us come,
She will say, “O, dear, the children are here,
bring a pie for everyone.”
Over the river, and through the wood—
now grandmother’s cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun! Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!

The poem was published in variations in many anthologies, including The American Citizens Handbook, edited by Joy Elmer Morgan, National Council for the Social Studies, Washington, D.C., 6th edition, 1968.


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