By Fran Lane

The American classic Jingle Bells was not written as a Christmas song, and it has a little-known third verse which is rarely sung. The popular American composer James S. Pierpont wrote this song in 1857, and titled it “One Horse Open Sleigh.” His father was a Unitarian minister, and James wrote it for a local Sunday school entertainment on Thanksgiving Day in Savannah, Georgia. Pierpont was writing about what teenage boys like to do: race and scare girls. The song is simply about boys getting the fastest sleigh (the cutter or one horse open sleigh), the fastest horse, and then race each other. Its catchy tune was soon adopted by Christmas revelers.
There is a little-known third verse to this song which is rarely sung:
Now the ground is white
Go it while you’re young,
Take the girls to night
And sing this sleighing song;
Just get a bob tailed bay
Two forty as his speed.
Hitch him to an open sleigh
And crack, you’ll take the lead.

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