Go Tell Aunt Rhody: About the Song

“Go Tell Aunt Rhody” may have originated as a play-party song during New England’s colonial days. Most Protestant communities had restrictions against dancing and playing musical instruments. Play parties were designed to sidestep those restrictions by using only handclaps for accompaniment and the simple patterns of children’s games to replace the intricate patterns of country dances. Depending on the locale in which this song was sung, the aunt may have had a name such as Patsy, Dinah, or Nancy.


Go tell Aunt Rhody
Go tell Aunt Rhody
Go tell Aunt Rhody
The old gray goose is dead

The one she’s been saving (x 3)
To make her feather bed

She died in the mill pond (x 3)
Standing on her head

She left nine little goslins (x 3)
To scratch for their own bread

The goslings are crying (x 3)
Because their mother’s dead

The gander is weeping (x 3)
Because his wife is dead