Thursday, December 13, 2007

Jingle All The Way

A few days ago Kenzie jumped in my car and made a predictable request. "Put on 2, 2, Nana," she said.

"Disc 2 Track 2, it is," I told her pressing the buttons on the dash.

She stretched the seat belt in the middle of the back seat across her body and snapped it into the buckle. The lively music started and she was bouncing in the sleigh, happily singing along, not missing a word, although a few of them came after the fact. She knows the words because we have the book.

Dashing through the snow,
In a one-horse open sleigh
O'er the fields we go
Laughing all the way,
bells on bob-tail ring,
Making spirits bright.
What fun it is to ride and sing
A sleighing song tonight!

Jingle bells! Jingle bells!
Jingle all the way!
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one-horse open sleigh

A day or two ago
I thought I'd take a ride.
And soon Miss Fannie Bright
Was seated by my side.
The horse was lean and lank.
Misfortune seemed his lot.
He got into a drifted bank,
And happy we were not.

Jingle bells! Jingle bells!
Jingle all the way.
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh!

I think I went through my whole life singing this song without visual pictures of what was actually happening. I always thought the sleigh was on its way to Grandma's house. I guess I assumed this because of 'over the mountains and through the woods....'

A few years ago I came across the book Jingle Bells, Illustrated by Normand Chartier. The book includes the little known second verse that explains the whole song. It was revelatory.

The sleigh does not have a roof. The horse's tail, which is cut short (bobbed) and the reins--- have bells wrapped around them.

The best part is the romantic story told in the second verse, and in this book is told only in the illustrations with the Jingle Bell lyrics.
If it had words it might read like this.

It was a date in the one horse open sleigh. Ms. Fanny Bright was cuddled next to her handsome fellow (in this book a raccoon.) A couple of mischievous kids (a rabbit and a bear) are chuckling under a blanket, hiding in the back of the sleigh. The horse was a spirited thing, not one to clod along. He was a light weight, not a Budweiser horse. Because of this he was bound to get the sleigh in trouble. He ran up a hill, a snow bank. Everyone falls out of the sled and tumbles into the snow. And they are not smiling. Worse yet the horse and sleigh take off, but the brave and determined fellow (Mr. Raccoon) run after them. He's exhausted and he's a mess when he brings the sleigh back to Ms. Fanny Bright and the two hitch hikers who are sitting on a log cuddled under a blanket sleeping. His top hat is on the ground near their feet.

The picture book is delightful with the lyrics alone. Jingle Bells.
Published by Simon and Schuster.
Copyright 1986 ISBN: 0-671-63022-9

I did a google search of the lyrics. In the original lyrics instead of And happy we were not is And then we got unsot. Unsot mean's turned over.

You can't beat Wikapedia for all the nitty gritty details about almost anything in the world.
At Wikapedia you can find two more verses to Jingle Bells and an interpretation of them.

The author and the composer of Jingle Bells was a minister called James Pierpoint who composed the song in 1857 for children celebrating his Boston Sunday School Thanksgiving. The song was so popular that it was repeated at Christmas.

1 comment:

srhcb said...


I followed you here from the site, which I just recently discoved and am very excited about.

Just an odd note:

RE: "And then we got unsot. Unsot mean's turned over."

"Sotted" also means drunken, (besotted?), so maybe here they mean sobered up?


Total Pageviews