Hollow treeI recently happened upon this hollow tree, and it kindled childhood memories of the stories of fairies and brownies and Mr. Froggie and Miss Mousie, all said to live in hollow trees.

Because the tree is very near a bullfrog pond, it particularly brought to mind the old nursery rhyme song, A Frog He Would A-Wooing Go or as it is known in the U.S., Froggie Went A-Courting.  

According to the Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes, the song can be traced through at least four centuries, back to around the year 1550. The earliest extant text is from 1611, and by the late 1700s the song was both familiar as a nursery song and was being performed on stage.

It has become a particular favorite in the U.S., especially here in Appalachia.  “Song catchers,” musicologists who collected Appalachian folk songs in the early twentieth century, found as many as forty versions with twenty two variants. These include King Kong Kitchie Kitchie Ki-Me-O which was recorded in 1928 by Chubby Parker who was an American old-time and folk musician and early radio entertainer.

Froggie went a courting and he did ride
King kong kitchie kitchie ki-me-o
With a sword and a pistol by his side
King kong kitchie kitchie ki-me-o

Ki-mo-ke-mo ki-mo-ke
Way down yonder in a hollow tree
An owl and a bat and a bumble bee
King kong kitchie kitchie ki-me-o

He rode ’til he came to Miss Mousie’s door
King kong kitchie kitchie ki-me-o
And there he knelt upon the floor
King kong kitchie kitchie ki-me-o

Ki-mo-ke-mo ki-mo-ke
Way down yonder in a hollow tree
An owl and a bat and a bumble bee
King kong kitchie kitchie ki-me-o

He took Miss Mouse upon his knee
King kong kitchie kitchie ki-me-o
And he said, “Little mouse will you marry me?”
King kong kitchie kitchie ki-me-o

Ki-mo-ke-mo ki-mo-ke
Way down yonder in a hollow tree
An owl and a bat and a bumble bee
King kong kitchie kitchie ki-me-o

Miss Mouse had suitors three or four
King kong kitchie kitchie ki-me-o
And there they came right in the door
King kong kitchie kitchie ki-me-o

Ki-mo-ke-mo ki-mo-ke
Way down yonder in a hollow tree
An owl and a bat and a bumble bee
King kong kitchie kitchie ki-me-o

They grabbed Mr. Frog and began to fight
King kong kitchie kitchie ki-me-o
In the hollow tree twas a terrible night
King kong kitchie kitchie ki-me-o

Ki-mo-ke-mo ki-mo-ke
Way down yonder in a hollow tree
An owl and a bat and a bumble bee
King kong kitchie kitchie ki-me-o

Mr. Frog brought the suitors to the floor
King kong kitchie kitchie ki-me-o
With the sword and the pistol he killed all four
King kong kitchie kitchie ki-me-o

Ki-mo-ke-mo ki-mo-ke
Way down yonder in a hollow tree
An owl and a bat and a bumble bee
King kong kitchie kitchie ki-me-o

They went to the parson the very next day
King kong kitchie kitchie ki-me-o
And left on their honeymoon right away
King kong kitchie kitchie ki-me-o

Ki-mo-ke-mo ki-mo-ke
Way down yonder in a hollow tree
An owl and a bat and a bumble bee
King kong kitchie kitchie ki-me-o

Now they live far off in a hollow tree
King kong kitchie kitchie ki-me-o
Where they now have wealth and children three
King kong kitchie kitchie ki-me-o

Ki-mo-ke-mo ki-mo-ke
Way down yonder in a hollow tree
An owl and a bat and a bumble bee
King kong kitchie kitchie ki-me-o

 

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4 thoughts on “The Hollow Tree: “King Kong Kitchie Kitchie Ki-Me-O”

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