The Bear Went Over the Mountain (song)

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"The Bear Went Over the Mountain" is a popular children's song often sung to the tune of "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow". The song (as well as "We'll all go down to Rowser", which is sung to the same tune) has been used in play party games.[1] The public domain lyrics are of unknown origin.

Possible origin[edit]

Deitsch folklorist Don Yoder postulates that the song may have its origins in Germanic traditions similar to Grundsaudaag, or Groundhog Day. Groundhog Day is known to have its roots in the behavior of badgers in Germany. In some German-speaking areas, however, the foxes or bears were seen as the weather prognosticators. When the behavior of the bear was considered, the belief was that the bear would come out of his lair to check whether he could see "over the mountain." If the weather were clear, the bear would put an end to hibernation and demolish his lair. If it rained or snowed, however, the bear would return to his lair for six more weeks.[2]

Lyrics[edit]

The bear went over the mountain,
The bear went over the mountain,
The bear went over the mountain,
To see what he could see.
And all that he could see,
And all that he could see,
Was the other side of the mountain,
The other side of the mountain,
The other side of the mountain,
Was all that he could see.
The bear went over the river, 3×
To see what he could see.
And all that he could see, 2×
Was the other side of the river,
The other side of the river, 2×
Was all that he could see.

These are the lyrics for "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow":

For He's a Jolly Good Fellow, 3×
Which nobody can deny.
Which nobody can deny, 2×
For He's a Jolly Good Fellow, 3×
And so say all of us.

[3]

Alternate versions use "climbed over the mountain" in place of "went over the mountain" and "and what do you think he saw?" in place of "and all that he could see" or "to see what he could see."

References[edit]

  1. ^ American Folklore Society (1920). The Journal of American Folk-lore. vol. 55. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, and Co. p. 91. 
  2. ^ Yoder, p. 52-53.
  3. ^ Lyrics as sung by Larry Groce on Disney Children's Favorite Songs 2
  • Yoder, Don (2003). Groundhog Day. Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania: Stackpole Books. ISBN 0-8117-0029-1. 

External links[edit]