I Gave My Love a Cherry: The Riddle Song Lullaby

Artwork Gregory Baldwin|CC

A humorous love song of puzzlement, I Gave My Love a Cherry, is a riddle to sing for baby.  Here are the lyrics for the folk song also known as, The Riddle Song.

Spoiler alert to the riddle’s answer:  How can there be no baby crying?  Well when the baby is asleep, of course!

The Riddle Song (Lyrics to I Gave My Love a Cherry)

I gave my love a cherry
That had no stone
I gave my love a chicken
That had no bone
I told my love a story
That had no end
I gave my love a baby
With no crying.

How can there be a cherry
That has no stone?
And how can there be a chicken
That has no bone?
And how can there be a story
That has no end?
And how can there be a baby
With no crying?

A cherry when it’s blooming
It has no stone
A chicken when in the shell
It has no bone
The story of how I love you
It has no end
A baby when it’s sleeping
It’s no crying.

Click to download a pdf printable of Riddle Lullaby Lyrics.


History of the Lullaby

I Gave My Love a Cherry is an American folk song that originated in the Appalachian Mountains in the 18th century. The tune is thought to be based on an Old English ballad called Captain Walker’s Courtship from over 600 years ago.

The song has many popular recordings including those of Joan Baez and Pete Seeger, but is most famous from its use in National Lampoon’s Animal House where John Belushi smashes the guitar of a folk singer serenading college girls to the tune.

The song also appeared in an episode of the Simpsons called  “Marge vs. the Monorail” where Homer sings to Marge: “I gave my love a chicken, it had no bones. Mmm… chicken.”

Video Clip: I Gave My Love  A Cherry from Animal House

Video Clip: Homer Sings I Gave My Love a Chicken on the Simpsons

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