Over the River and Through the Woods

The popular Thanksgiving song “Over the River and Through the Wood” was originally published as a poem entitled “The New-England Boy’s Song about Thanksgiving Day”.

The lyrics, which belong to the well-known writer Lydia Maria Child, represent her own childhood memories, going to visit her grandfather’s house on Thanksgiving Day. In many cases today we sing “to grandmother’s house we go” but the original version refers to the grandfather.

The poem was first published in the volume Child’s Flowers for Children in 1844.

“Over the River and Through the Woods” Lyrics

Thanksgiving Song

Over the river and through the woods,
To grandfather’s* house we go;
The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh,
Thru the white and drifted snow, oh!

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

Over the river and thru the wood,
To have a first-rate play;
Oh, hear the bell ring, “Ting-a-ling-ling!”
Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day-ay!

Over the river and thru the woods,
Trot fast my dapple gray!
Spring over the ground like a hunting hound,
For this is Thanksgiving Day!

Over the river and through the woods,
And straight through the barnyard gate.
We seem to go extremely slow,
It is so hard to wait!

Over the river and through the woods,
Now Grandmother’s cap I spy!
Hurrah for fun! Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!

“The New-England Boy’s Song about Thanksgiving Day”

by Lydia Maria Child

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.

Over the river, and through the wood,
To Grandfather’s* house away!
We would not stop for doll or top,
For this is 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,
With a clear blue winter sky,
The dogs do bark,
And children hark,
As we go jingling by.

Over the river, and through the wood,
To have a first-rate play.
Hear the bells ring, “Ting-a-ling-ling!”
Hurray for Thanksgiving Day!

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.

Over the river, and through the wood,
To see little John and Ann.
We will kiss them all,
And play snow-ball,
And stay as long as we can.

Over the river, and through the wood,
Trot fast, my dapple grey!
Spring over the ground,
Like a hunting hound!
For this is Thanksgiving day!

Over the river, and through the wood,
And straight through the barn-yard gate,
We seem to go
Extremely slow,
It is so hard to wait!

Over the river, and through the wood,
Old Jowler hears our bells,
He shakes his pow,
With a loud bow-wow,
And thus the news he tells.

Over the river, and through the wood,
When Grandmother sees us come,
She will say, “Oh, dear,
The children are here,
bring a pie for every one.”

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!

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