Froggy Went a Courtin'

Froggy and his bride

My grandmother sang this song to me and most verses here are just as she sang them. I added a few more verses gleaned from David Highland's collection of over 170 verses on his delightful "Frog went a Courtin'" web site. And I made up a couple of new ones myself.

I took the tune from "King Kong Kitchie Kitchie Ki-Me-O"' recorded by Chubby Parker in 1928. Chubby's version of the story was pretty wieird. Froggy murders his four rivals, other suitors for the hand of the demure Miss Mousey. That apparently was what the sword and pistol were for - killing off the competition. I always wondered. I left these lyrics behind and took only the tune and the nonsense words. I lost the sword and pistol as well.

But I liked Chubby's infectious 'Kye-mo kee-mo' refrain so much I started making up my own refrains. Before I knew it I had a new refrain for each verse. You should try your hand it this too. Once you start it is hard to stop.

In my previous post I said the ‘The Farmer’s Cursed Wife’ was the oldest song I know. But actually, Froggy has a better claim and dates back to Elizabethan England, the earliest reference known is from 1590.


Froggie went a courtin and he did ride
King kong, kitchee, kitchee, kye-me-oh
Looking for a fine young bride
King kong, kitchee, kitchee, kye-me-oh

Ths song is endorsed by the King
and recommended for the cure of dower countenences
and other afflictions of the spirit.

Kimo, Kye-mo, Kie-ro Kee
Way down yonder in a holler tree
Mouse and a froggy and bumble bee
King kong, kitchee, kitchee, kye-me-oh

He saddled him up a big black snail
Riding between the horns and tail

Cairo Kay-ro land of the Pharoah
Lox and kippers and a whole wheat bagel
Mouse in the cupboard and a horse in the stable

He went up to Miss Mousey’s den
Said Miss Mousey are you within

Spider cider whiskey rye
RC Cola and a big Moon Pie
Taters in the ground and stars in the sky

He took Miss Mousy on his knee.
And said Miss Mousy will you marry me?

Nora snore-a Flora too
Play the washboard and kazoo
Walla Walla Wash and Allagaroo

Not without uncle Rat’s consent
I would not marry the President

The roosters crow and the crows go caw
In Tennessee and Arkansas
The geese get fat like your grand-pa

Uncle Rat he shook his fat sides
To think his niece would be a bride

Rollin’ in the butter and sleepin’ in the hay
I’ll sail my river boat far away
From Oklahoma to Bombay

Where is the wedding gonna be
Way down yonder in a holler tree

Sweet potato, rutabaga, corn cob pie
Pumpkin squash and my oh my
I got some peanut butter on my tie

What will the wedding supper be?
A fried mosquito and a black-eyed pea.

Cheese enchilada and a chocolate cake
Pile of falafel for goodness sake
How-ever did I get such a big belly ache

The first to come was a Captain Flea.
With a little bitty banjo on his knee.

Dogs and cats and bugs and fleas
Pass the biscuits if you please
Hold your nose and don’t you sneeze

A pretty little Possum was next to come in
And she played us a tune on her mandolin

With bones and a whistle and a big bass drum
Hoot and holler and sing and hum
Everybody happy and nobody glum

The next to come was a fat raccoon
Playin’ his fiddle by the light of the moon.

Hammer and a sickle and a rake and hoe
Grab your partner away we go
With a corn stalk fiddle and shoestring bow

The next to come in was Missus Cow.
She tried to dance the polka but she don’t know how

Bat man, wolf-man, Dracula
Spoon and a ladle and a spatula
Tango, waltz and the Cha Cha Cha

The next to come was a great big bear,
And he filled up our big armchair

A sweet little rabbit kissed the old grand-pa
The dancing pigs sang oo-la-la
Don’t tell any stories to your gran-ma

The next to come was an El-e-phant
In a fine white suit with big stripey pants

Butcher, Baker, candlestick maker
Faker, Shaker and a nice lady Quaker
If you won’t have her then I’m gonna take her

The owl did hoot, the birds they sang,
And through the woods their music rang.

Possum, skunk, and snake and coon
Mocking-bird and jay and loon
They sang all night ‘neath the big blue moon

Then come along a big black snake
And he ate up all of the wedding cake

A deck of cards and a racing snail
Spitting contests in the pail
Don’t call the law we’ll land in jail

And now there comes a big ole cat
She chased them out and that was that

Kimo, Kye-mo, Kie-ro Kee
They all live together in the holler tree
Frog and the mousy and their children three

I’m putting my banjo on the shelf
If you want any more you can sing it yourself.

Beans on the table and pie in the sky
Reincarnation when I die
I’ll see you all in the bye and bye

Song sheet: